Sunday, October 14, 2012


OK, all eight of you out there, I need help.

I have been in conversation about the Catholic faith with a wonderful young man who is genuinely and earnestly searching for the truth....It's been frustrating for both of us--in part because I think we speak different languages.  In an effort to focus our discussions in a little he's sent me some questions about the faith before our next meeting in two weeks.  I am sharing because I want, nay, I need, your input!  These are things we have discussed before (except number 8 and I think we covered that indirectly) and clearly, I'm not getting across.

So, take a stab at any or all of these in the combox.  I need all the help I can get...  And pass this along to anyone who might want to weigh in.....Think of this as your spiritual act of mercy for the week....

On Salvation
1) What do you think justification by faith, not works, means?  What does it mean to you personally?

2) Are we really justifed by faith, or are we actually justified by love?

3) How do or should Catholics think about their eternal destiny?  Who can have confidence and under what conditions?  Again, a personal answer would be helpful.

4) What does it mean to prepare oneself for grace?

5) What does it mean for God to love us if he constantly threatens to take his love away, and even for an individual act?  Or conversely, if God's love is reduced to a desire for our salvation whether we're presently in or out of grace, what kind of love is it that suddenly ceases at death and becomes hatred?

6) Is predestination practically encouraging or assuring to you?

7) What is the point of all the severe penances of a Rose of Lima or Teresa of Avila or Catherine of Siena?
8)Whom do you think the Bible is talking about when its speaks of those through whom Satan would perform powerful miracles, whom God would deceive by a powerful delusion so that they would believe the lie, etc?

9) What do you do with all the biblical passages that seem to skip over purgatory?  To have died is to be freed from sin? (Rom 6:7)  We who are still alive will be caught up to meet him in the air, and so we will be with the Lord forever ?(1 Thess 4:17)

10) Why all the bowing in church (genuflecting, bowing during songs/liturgy, etc.)?

11) How do you explain the dramatic contrast between the Council of Florence on the topic of salvation for those outside the church and Vatican II?

In your debt--and His....


  1. Barbara: Each of those questions deserves a long, careful response which would take a good amount of time. I suggest you or your friend do some research online as there are plenty of great Catholic websites that walk through each of those issues step-by-step.

    One of the best is Do a keyword search for "faith and work" or "purgatory" or "predestination" and you'll find a ton of helpful resources. For instance, here's a great overview on the Catholic position on faith and works:

    If you can't find a good answer to one of the points above, though, feel free to email me at brandon(at)brandonvogt(dot)com. Thanks!

  2. Barbara, I'd recommend you just focus on one or two topics with him, otherwise there's no way to really delve into anything. Also I'd suggest taking the attitude of, if something is brought up that you don't know the answer to, tell him that you need to think about it and look into it more. And then you can do just that and see what you find.

  3. A frequent reader of my blog referred me to this blog post, and I wanted you to know that I am preparing an answer to all of these questions. I'll let you know as soon as I am finished :D

  4. I started to try to comment on 1 & 2, but the post went away while I was still trying to make it logical. So I'll try again later. How bout the easy one, #10? Does your friend have a faith tradition? If he is Protestant, ask if he knows the praise song that goes "Come, Let us Worship and Bow Down, Let us kneel before the Lord our God our Maker..." I like to sing that one. But I really like that as a catholic we actually get to DO it. Because of all the times I heard that sung, I never saw those people actually kneel. It says in the Bible, "every knee shall bow" and we are just getting in practice! And the Mass is a reflection of the scene in the book of the Revelation, according to Scott Hahn, and there is plenty of bowing and kneeling going on there. I will be interested to read this comment thread as more people comment.

  5. Hey, I answered your questions on my blog. See the following posts:

    All that is left is the question on the Council of Florence vs. the Second Vatican Council on salvation outside the Church. I will be posting that on Tuesday.

  6. Barbara--I check by every so often and just noticed this--how is it going?

    Jim McCullough
    DRE Our Lady of Grace
    jmccullough at olgch----(spelled out).org

  7. How did this go? Would be glad to respond if not too late, sorry--did not check in sooner! MKJ