Saturday, March 29, 2008

Are Catholic Beliefs Found in the Bible?

Catholics are often asked tough questions about their Catholic faith and its relationship to the Bible. Here are the ten most-asked questions and the answers, in admittedly brief format, which should help to satisfy the questioner.

Adapted from a pamphlet available from Our Sunday Visitor entitled “Top Ten Questions Catholics Are Asked” and written by Dave Armstrong, the ten most asked questions are as follows:

1. Are Catholic beliefs found in the Bible?
2. Why do you obey the Pope?
3. Why do you call your priest "Father"?
4. Why do you pray for the dead?
5. Why do you pray to idols (statues)?
6. Why do you confess your sins to a priest?
7. Why do you worship Mary?
8. Why do you worship wafers?
9. If you died tonight, would you go to heaven?
10. Are you saved?

In this posting, I will deal with question #1. I will post on the other questions over the next few weeks.


Are Catholic beliefs found in the Bible?

All Catholic beliefs can be found in the Bible in some form, whether plainly or by indirect indication. It is not necessary for everything to be absolutely clear in Scripture alone, because this is not the teaching of Scripture itself. Scripture also points to an authoritative Church and Tradition, as St. Paul points out in his Second Letter to the Thessalonians: "Stand firm and hold to the traditions you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter" (2 Thess 2:15 -- See also 1 Cor 11:2; 2 Thess 3:6; 2 Tim 1:13-14; 2:2).

When the first Christians had a significant disagreement they didn't simply open their Bibles (they didn't even exist at that point) to decide who was right; they held a council, which made binding decrees (Acts 15:1-29). The very books of the Bible had to be determined by the Church, and that didn't happen until the late fourth century. Therefore, human tradition and authority were necessary for us to even have a Bible today. If you believe that the Bible is infallible then you should also believe that the Church that decided which books should be in the Bible is the Church that has the Truth and has kept it complete and whole for 2000 years (1 Tim 3:15).

[This pamphlet is also available online.]

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