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Catholic Questions and AnswersCatholic Questions and Answers

 

This section covers some of most frequently asked questions (FAQ) that we receive here at The Crossroads Initiative. If you have any questions you can check this page frequently for more Catholic Q & A.  We are adding new Questions and Answers every week.  Please select the topic that you have questions about.  If you don't find an answer to your question, feel free to contact us and Dr. D'Ambrosio will try to answer.

 

 

 

 

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General Catholic Q&A

 

Q -Hey Marcellino, just so that you see I read your emails. Explain to me the difference between some Protestants' espousing of the so called Prosperity Gospel, and a statement I read in today's email.

 

If God 'intended for us to have a quality of life that is quite frankly out of this world,' what of the millions who live with birth defects? Did He screw up, or are these folks not within his intentions or beyond His control, or within his intention, as a sort of a lesson for us ungrateful folk?

 

Just curious about what it means to know God's intentions.

 

A -Hi GB!  Great hearing from you!

 

There is not one version of what is often known as the Protestant "Prosperity Gospel."  But one variant hold that financial prosperity are signs of God's favor and the lack thereof are signs of God's rejection.  Another would portray Christian life as a walk in the park with no suffering.

 

On the basis of Scripture and tradition, I would reject both of these variants.  Being born with a birth defect does not necessarily mean that God either rejects the child or that he made a mistake.  It could be a result of poor diet and lifestyle choices of the mother or deficient medical practice.

 

John 10:10 and my commentary on John 6:51-58 which contends that God intends for us to have a richer, deeper life that is "out of this world" does not mean that he intends for us to have no suffering, problems, or inconveniences in life.  And it does not address the questions of who is responsible for the birth defect or the loss of a job, etc.  The point is that wherever we find ourselves, God wants more for us.  He is a loving father.  Would any good Dad be satisfied with mediocrity for your children in any department of life?  Neither would God.  That he refuses to be pleased with spiritual mediocrity is a point of doctrine.  In Revelations, he said that the lukewarm he spews from his mouth.  Lumen Gentium, Vatican II's Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, teaches that we are all called not just to decency but to the heights of sanctity.  But I also think it is hard to argue that earthly goods such as medical care, food, education, etc are not something God wants for his children.  Jesus provided for bodily needs even as he forgave sins and taught about heaven.  The Church has done the same for 2000 years.

 

Helen Keller is a good example of someone who, despite profound handicaps, lived a rich inner life and at the same time changed the world. She is a good example of what Thomas Aquinas said -- our loving God only allows evil to happen from which he can bring an even greater good.

 

Faithfully in Christ,

Dr. Marcellino D'Ambrosio


Q -Dear Dr. D'Ambrosio,

Hello from upstate NY! I hope you're doing well. I continue to enjoy your e-mails.
At mass this morning, the priest talked about the Gospel (Matt 18:15-20). He said that scholars say Jesus did not say 'tell the Church' because the Church did not yet exist. Also, scholars say that Jesus did not say 'treat him as you would a Gentile or a tax collector.'
What is your opinion on this? Why is the Gospel written this way if Jesus did not say these things?
Thank you for your work in evangelization!
MS

 

 

A -Hi MS,
Always watch out when someone pronounces the phrase “scholars say”.
I’m a scholar. And I say that it is a miracle to find all scholars unanimous in anything.
We don’t have videos or tape recordings of the actual, literal words of Jesus. And if we did, there would be arguments on the proper translation of them from Aramaic into various modern languages!
What the Church attests is that the gospels are inspired to provide us a true picture of who Jesus was and what he taught. His actual words ver batim are the wrong thing to be arguing about.
Faithfully in Christ,
Dr. Marcellino D’Ambrosio


Q -Dear D'Ambrosio,

 

Your statement that the only miracle recorded in all four gospels being the multiplication of the loaves and fishes is not accurate. The most important miracle of all is recorded in all four gospels and that is the resurrection of Christ. Without the resurrection the rest is meaningless.

Kevin P.

 

A -Hi Kevin,

You are quite right that without the resurrection of the Lord, the rest of the gospel is meaningless.  And of course the resurrection is recorded in all four gospels.

 

Typically, when people are speaking of the miracles of Jesus, they are speaking about his "signs" (as St. John calls them) or the mighty works he did during his public ministry.  His own resurrection is in a class all by itself.  We are just following biblical and traditional usage here.

 

The important thing is the message of this Sunday's gospel, John 6, the Bread of Life discourse, and how the power of the Risen Lord comes to us in a very special way through the Eucharist.

 

Faithfully in Christ,

Dr.  Marcellino D'Ambrosio


Q -We are currently doing the Matthew: The King and His Kingdom Bible Study at our church.  I have been appointed the person to get the answers to questions that come up in our discussions.  There is one question that I have not been able to find an answer to and I am hoping you can help or point me in the right direction.  Jeff Cavins made a statement in the session 12 DVD that King David was a priest.  Several attendees of the bible study were confused by that statement and want to know if King David was a priest.  Any help will be greatly appreciated!

Terry S.

 

A -Hi Teri,

The Cultic Priesthood in Ancient Israel was hereditary -- a priest had to be born of tribe of Levi, a descendent of Aaron.  Although David was of the tribe of Judah, and therefore was not a Levitical priest, he did exercise some priestly functions.  He appears to have offered sacrifices [2 Sam 6:13, 17-18; 2 Sam 24:18-25; and 1 Chr 21:18-28) and David's sons were called priests [2 Sam 8:18]. As such, David was a "type" or foreshadowing of the one who would be totally and perfectly priest, king, and prophet -- Jesus, the Son of David and Son of God.

 

Faithfully in Christ,

Dr. Marcellino D'Ambrosio


Q -I’ve heard a few priests say that the Church at one time banned reading the Bible by lay people. Is there any historical evidence that this might have occurred on a temporary basis in a local region to stem the spreading of a particular heresy or upon the Universal Church at any given time? - Carl (submitted on Facebook)

 

A -Not to my knowledge, Carl.  The truth of the matter is that, in the western Church, literacy was lost after Rome fell in the 5th century-- only clerics could read.  That's why record keeping is called "clerical work" -- only clerics could do it for centuries.  It wasn't until the late 19th century that the majority of Europeans could read and write.  When vernacular translations of the Bible began to be done and printed in the 15th century, the Church correctly was alarmed by several of them which were tainted by theological errors (John Wyclif's translation for example) and so it was forbidden to read these bad translations.  That could be where the myth arose that the Catholic laity were forbidden to read the Bible.

M


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Great Adventure Bible Time Line Catholic Scripture Study by Jeff Cavins --24 talks on DVD
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