Free Downloadable Handouts for Catholics - Answers to the 30 Most Frequently Asked Questions in Catholicism

Answers to the Most Commonly Asked Questions in Catholicism

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Free Downloadable Handouts for Catholics - Answers to the 30 Most Frequently Asked Questions in Catholicism

  1. What is the Catechism of the Catholic Church? 
  2. How Do We Know God?
  3. How Do We Know Truth?
  4. Does Church Tradition Change?  Does God's Revelation Continue in Catholicism?
  5. Who Can Teach Authoritatively? Can Only Catholic Priests, Bishops, & Popes Interpret the Bible?
  6. What is a Valid Church? Is the Catholic Church the Only True Church?
  7. What is Sin According to the Catholic Catechism? Do Different Sins Need Different Sacrifices?
  8. How can we be saved according to the Catholic Catechism?  Is salvation alone thru Catholicism?
  9. Do We Receive Grace and the Holy Spirit through the Catholic Sacraments?
  10. Does Salvation Come through Catholic Mass? Does Giving Money to Church Save Us?
  11. Is Catholic Baptism Necessary for Salvation?
  12. Is Catholic Confirmation Necessary for Salvation & the Holy Spirit?
  13. Is Catholic Eucharist Necessary for Salvation?
  14. Does Our Eucharist Help the Dead? Help Us Connect to the Dead?
  15. Is Catholic Penance Necessary for Salvation and Forgiveness?
  16. Is Peter the First Pope?
  17. Did Peter have Authority Over All the Apostles?
  18. Does Peter Call Himself a Pope or Bishop?
  19. Was Peter Married? Is Priestly Celibacy Biblical?
  20. What Is Veneration? Is Mary Our Mother? Should Mary Be Venerated?
  21. Was Mary Always Saved?  Did Mary Never Sin?
  22. Is Mary the Cause of Salvation?
  23. Was Mary a Virgin Her Entire Life? Did Jesus Have Any Brothers?
  24. Is It True that Mary Never Died? Did Mary Ascend to Heaven? 
  25. Are Images of Jesus, Mary, Saints, or Angels Helpful or Harmful? Do Relics &Rosaries have Power? 
  26. Should We Pray to Mary and Saints? Is it ok to Pray to Angels?
  27. Will I Go to Purgatory? Do Indulgences Help Us? 
  28. Can Marriages Be Annulled? What about Catholic Divorce and Remarriage?
  29. Internal Inconsistencies within the Catholic Catechism
  30. Why is the Catholic Bible Different? Is the Deuterocanon / Apocrypha Trustworthy?


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"How Do We Know Truth?" - Important Passages of The Catechism of the Catholic Church and Bible to Consider

 


“How Do We Know Truth?” - Important Passages of The Catechism of the Catholic Church to Consider:

  • “'Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture, then, are bound closely together and communicate one with the other. For both of them, flowing out front he same divine well-spring, come together in some fashion to form one thing and move towards the same goal.’  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’” (CCC 80)
  • “As a result the Church, to whom the transmission and interpretation of Revelation is entrusted, ‘does not derive her certainty about all revealed truths from the holy Scriptures alone.  Both Scripture and Tradition must be accepted and honored with equal sentiments of devotion and reverence” (CCC 82)
  • “to the Church belongs the right always and everywhere to announce moral principles, including those pertaining to the social order, and to make judgments on any human affairs” (CCC 2032)
  • “The Roman Pontiff and the bishops are ‘authentic teachers, that is, teachers endowed with the authority of Christ, who preach the faith to be believed and put into practice” (CCC 2034)


“How Do We Know Truth?” - Important Scriptures to Consider:

  • 1 Timothy 6:3–5 “If anyone teaches a different doctrine and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching that accords with godliness, [4] he is puffed up with conceit and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy craving for controversy and for quarrels about words, which produce envy, dissension, slander, evil suspicions, [5] and constant friction among people who are depraved in mind and deprived of the truth, imagining that godliness is a means of gain.” (ESV)
  • 2 Timothy 3:16–17 “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, [17] that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work." (ESV)
  • Acts 17:11 “Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.”
  • 1 Corinthians 4:6 "I have applied all these things to myself and Apollos for your benefit, brothers, that you may learn by us not to go beyond what is written, that none of you may be puffed up in favor of one against another.”
  • 2 Timothy 4:2 “preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.” 
  • 2 Corinthians 13:5 “Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test!" (ESV)
  • Galatians 5:19–24 “Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, [20] idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, [21] envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. [22] But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, [23] gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. [24] And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.” (ESV)
  • 1 John 2:3–6 “And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. [4] Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, [5] but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: [6] whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.” (ESV)
  • Matthew 13:18–23 “Hear then the parable of the sower: [19] When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. This is what was sown along the path. [20] As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy, [21] yet he has no root in himself, but endures for a while, and when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately he falls away. [22] As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and it proves unfruitful. [23] As for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it. He indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.” (ESV)
  • Ephesians 3:16–17 "that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, [17] so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love” (ESV)
  • Colossians 3:16 “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.” (ESV)
  • John 14:16–17 “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, [17] even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.” (ESV)


“How Do We Know Truth?” - Important Questions to Consider:

  • Why does the Catechism claim a necessity for Scripture to be supported by Tradition?
  • How do we know whose claims to authority are correct?  How do we know if the claims of the Orthodox churches are superior to the Roman Catholic claims?  What about Protestant traditions?
  • Why is Tradition to be “accepted and honored with equal sentiments of devotion and reverence”?
  • How does 2 Timothy 3:16-17 describe the Bible?
  • Why is it so serious and dangerous to go beyond the teachings of God in the Bible?
  • Why is there so much arrogance when talking through these differences?
  • What does 2 Corinthians 13:5 say about salvation?  How do we test ourselves according to Scripture?
  • Would Galatians 5:19-24 be a good test, why?
  • How would the book of 1 John help to test the genuineness of our faith?
  • How does the parable of the sower help us to understand what salvation looks like? (Matthew 13:18–23)
  • Why are conversations about our differences so important?
  • How do we get prepared to explain our faith to others?
  • Who is our ultimate Helper in understanding truth according to John 14:16-17?
  • What other Bible passages would you add to this list? Why?


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"How Do We Know God?" - Important Passages of The Catechism of the Catholic Church & Bible to Consider




 “How do we know God?” - Important Passages of The Catechism of the Catholic Church to Consider:

  • “the Church is expressing her confidence in the possibility of speaking about him to all men and with all men” (CCC, 39)
  • “the apostolic preaching, which is expressed in a special way in the inspired books, was to be preserved in a continuous line of succession until the end of time” (CCC, 77)
  • this living transmission, accomplished in the Holy Spirit, is called Tradition, since it is distinct from Sacred Scripture, though closely connected to it. Through Tradition, ‘the Church, in her doctrine, life, and worship perpetuates and transmits to every generation all that she herself is, all that she believes” (CCC, 78)
  • “The Father’s self-communication made through his Word in the Holy Spirit, remains present and active in the Church” (CCC 79)


“How do we know God?” - Important Scriptures to Consider:

  • Matthew 28:19-20 “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (ESV)
  • Deuteronomy 6:6-7 “And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.” (ESV)
  • Mark 7:8–9 “You leave the commandment of God and hold to the tradition of men.” And he said to them, “You have a fine way of rejecting the commandment of God in order to establish your tradition!” (ESV)
  • Psalm 19:7“The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple” (ESV)
  • Psalm 119:130 “The unfolding of your words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple.” (ESV)
  • 2 Timothy 3:14-15 “But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.” (ESV)
  • 2 Peter 3:16 “There are some things in them that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures” (ESV)
  • 1 Peter 2:14 “The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.” (ESV)
  • 2 Timothy 2:15 “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.” (ESV)
  • John 10:14–16 “I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, [15] just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. [16] And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd.” (ESV)
  • John 10:27–28 “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. [28] I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.” (ESV)
  • Acts 17:11 “Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.” (ESV)


“How do we know God?” - Important Questions to Consider:

  • Who is called to speak and teach authoritatively about Jesus?  
  • What is the role of the family in teaching about God?
  • Does the Bible give more encouragement about tradition or more warnings about traditions?  
    • NEGATIVE - Matthew 15:1–9 “Then Pharisees and scribes came to Jesus from Jerusalem and said, [2] “Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat.” [3] He answered them, “And why do you break the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition? [4] For God commanded, ‘Honor your father and your mother,’ and, ‘Whoever reviles father or mother must surely die.’ [5] But you say, ‘If anyone tells his father or his mother, “What you would have gained from me is given to God,” [6] he need not honor his father.’ So for the sake of your tradition you have made void the word of God. [7] You hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy of you, when he said: [8] “‘This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; [9] in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’” (ESV)
    • NEGATIVE - Mark 7:1–13 “Now when the Pharisees gathered to him, with some of the scribes who had come from Jerusalem, [2] they saw that some of his disciples ate with hands that were defiled, that is, unwashed. [3] (For the Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat unless they wash their hands properly, holding to the tradition of the elders, [4] and when they come from the marketplace, they do not eat unless they wash. And there are many other traditions that they observe, such as the washing of cups and pots and copper vessels and dining couches.) [5] And the Pharisees and the scribes asked him, “Why do your disciples not walk according to the tradition of the elders, but eat with defiled hands?” [6] And he said to them, “Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written, “‘This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; [7] in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’ [8] You leave the commandment of God and hold to the tradition of men.” [9] And he said to them, “You have a fine way of rejecting the commandment of God in order to establish your tradition! [10] For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and your mother’; and, ‘Whoever reviles father or mother must surely die.’ [11] But you say, ‘If a man tells his father or his mother, “Whatever you would have gained from me is Corban”’ (that is, given to God)—[12] then you no longer permit him to do anything for his father or mother, [13] thus making void the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And many such things you do.” (ESV)
    • POSITIVE - 1 Corinthians 11:2 “Now I commend you because you remember me in everything and maintain the traditions even as I delivered them to you. (ESV)
    • NEGATIVE - Galatians 1:13–16 “For you have heard of my former life in Judaism, how I persecuted the church of God violently and tried to destroy it. [14] And I was advancing in Judaism beyond many of my own age among my people, so extremely zealous was I for the traditions of my fathers.” (ESV)
    • NEGATIVE - Colossians 2:8 “See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.” (ESV)
    • POSITIVE - 2 Thessalonians 2:9–15 “But we ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers beloved by the Lord, because God chose you as the firstfruits to be saved, through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth. [14] To this he called you through our gospel, so that you may obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. [15] So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the traditions that you were taught by us, either by our spoken word or by our letter.” (ESV)
    • POSITIVE - 2 Thessalonians 3:6 “Now we command you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you keep away from any brother who is walking in idleness and not in accord with the tradition that you received from us.” (ESV)
  • How does Psalm 119 describe the Bible? Skim to pg. 80-81 to some amazing truths about the Bible!
  • Are the writings and teachings of man (devotions, traditions, etc.) necessary for understanding how we know God through salvation?
  • What does 2 Timothy 3:14-15 say about salvation?
  • What is the best way to know and follow Jesus?  Can we interact with Him directly?
  • Read Acts 17:11.  Why are the Bereans praised for testing the teaching of Paul?  Why didn’t they just presume what he said was true?


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"What is the Catechism of the Catholic Church?" - Important Passages of The Catechism of the Catholic Church & Bible to Consider



“What is the Catechism of the Catholic Church?” - Important Passages of The Catechism of the Catholic Church to Consider:

  • “essential and fundamental contents of Catholic doctrine” (CCC, 11)
  • “I today order by virtue of my Apostolic Authority, is a statement of the Church’s faith and of catholic doctrine, attested to or illumined by Sacred Scripture, the Apostolic Tradition, and the Church’s Magesterium.  I declare it to be a sure norm for teaching the faith and thus a valid and legitimate instrument for ecclesial communion.” (CCC, Fidei Depositum, Pope John Paul)
  • “The presentation of doctrine must be biblical” (CCC, Fidei Depositum, Pope John Paul)
  • “useful reading for all other Christian faithful” (CCC, 12)
  • “For a deeper understanding of such passages, the reader should refer to the Scriptural texts themselves.  Such Biblical references are a valuable working-tool in catechesis” (CCC, 19)
  • “It must be sound doctrine” (CCC, Fidei Depositum, Pope John Paul)
  • “I beseech the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Incarnate Word and Mother of the Church, to support with her powerful intercession the catechetical work of the entire Church on every level” (CCC, Fidei Depositum, Pope John Paul)
  • “Catechesis is an education in the faith” (CCC, 4)
  • “St. Cyril of Jerusalem and St. John Chrysostom, St. Ambrose and St. Augustine, and many other Fathers wrote catechetical works that remain models for us” (CCC, 8)


 “What is the Catechism of the Catholic Church?” - Important Scriptures to Consider:

  • Deuteronomy 4.1–2 “And now, O Israel, listen to the statutes and the rules that I am teaching you, and do them, that you may live, and go in and take possession of the land that the LORD, the God of your fathers, is giving you. 2 You shall not add to the word that I command you, nor take from it, that you may keep the commandments of the LORD your God that I command you.” (ESV)
  • Deuteronomy 18:20–22 “But the prophet who presumes to speak a word in my name that I have not commanded him to speak, or who speaks in the name of other gods, that same prophet shall die.’ [21] And if you say in your heart, ‘How may we know the word that the LORD has not spoken?’—[22] when a prophet speaks in the name of the LORD, if the word does not come to pass or come true, that is a word that the LORD has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously. You need not be afraid of him.” (ESV)
  • Proverbs 30:5–6 “Every word of God proves true; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him. Do not add to his words, lest he rebuke you and you be found a liar.” (ESV)
  • 2 John 9 “Everyone who goes on ahead and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God. Whoever abides in the teaching has both the Father and the Son.” (ESV)
  • Matthew 7:15–20 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. [16] You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? [17] So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. [18] A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. [19] Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. [20] Thus you will recognize them by their fruits.” (ESV)
  • 2 Peter 2:1–3 “But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction. [2] And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed. [3] And in their greed they will exploit you with false words. Their condemnation from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep.” (ESV)
  • Revelation 22:18–19 "I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book, [19] and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book.” (ESV)
  • John 14:26 “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.” (ESV)

 “What is the Catechism of the Catholic Church?” - Important Questions to Consider:

  • Does the Catechism of the Catholic Church go beyond the teachings of Jesus? Is it biblical?
  • Why is there a need for tradition and the church authority in addition to the Bible?
  • Why is there such a gap in time (350 years) between some of the early church writings that correspond to the claims of the catechism authority?
  • Why are there so many internal inconsistencies in the Catechism of the Catholic Church? (note: see chapter towards the end that specifically addresses this concern)
  • Why do some doctrines of the Catechism of the Catholic Church (purgatory, indulgences, etc.) validated later on in church history and mostly by tradition with little Scripture?
  • Does the Catechism reference Scriptures within their contextual meaning?  Have you ever checked the footnote references in the Catechism to be sure?
  • Why are the Catechisms and Tradition of the Catholic Church allowed to change or be added to?
  • Why does the Pope pray to the dead (Mary) for her prayers for the work of the Catechism?  Is not talking to the dead directly called “necromancy”?  Is it biblical?
  • What does John 14:26 say about who we access directly and primarily for help in teaching?


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