Help! Converting on Sunday - still have questions


#1

Okay, I know I won’t know everything there is to know about Catholicism before Sunday which is when I’m converting from a non-denomination church w/baptist upbringing. But I came across this creed written in 361 AD and it bothers me because now the Church teaches that its sortof okay to not believe the way this creed says and still be able to receive salvation as long as you are “trying” to get to God in the only way you know how basically is how I read it in the Cathechism. Read the Creed below (especially the last paragraph)and then if you can, please explain the change. Thank you so much… This is kindof really bothering me and I’d like to get it resolved before Sunday…

The Athanasian Creed (361 AD):

Whosoever will be saved, before all things it is necessary that he hold the Catholic Faith. Which Faith except everyone do keep whole and undefiled, without doubt he shall perish everlastingly. And the Catholic Faith is this, that we worship one God in Trinity and Trinity in Unity. Neither confounding the Persons, nor dividing the Substance. For there is one Person of the Father, another of the Son, and another of the Holy Ghost. But the Godhead of the Father, of the Son and of the Holy Ghost is all One, the Glory Equal, the Majesty Co-Eternal. Such as the Father is, such is the Son, and such is the Holy Ghost. The Father Uncreate, the Son Uncreate, and the Holy Ghost Uncreate. The Father Incomprehensible, the Son Incomprehensible, and the Holy Ghost Incomprehensible. The Father Eternal, the Son Eternal, and the Holy Ghost Etneral and yet they are not Three Eternals but One Eternal. As also there are not Three Uncreated, nor Three Incomprehensibles, but One Uncreated, and One Uncomprehensible. So likewise the Father is Almighty, the Son Almighty, and the Holy Ghost Almighty. And yet they are not Three Almighties but One Almighty.

So the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Ghost is God. And yet they are not Three Gods, but One God. So likewise the Father is Lord, the Son Lord, and the Holy Ghost Lord. And yet not Three Lords but One Lord. For, like as we are compelled by the Christian verity to acknowledge every Person by Himself to be God and Lord, so are we forbidden by the Catholic Religion to say, there be Three Gods or Three Lords. The Father is made of none, neither created, nor begotten. The Son is of the Father alone; not made, nor created, but begotten. The Holy Ghost is of the Father, and of the Son neither made, nor created, nor begotten, but proceeding.

So there is One Father, not Three Fathers; one Son, not Three Sons; One Holy Ghost, not Three Holy Ghosts. And in this Trinity none is afore or after Other, None is greater or less than Another, but the whole Three Persons are Co-eternal together, and Co-equal. So that in all things, as is aforesaid, the Unity is Trinity, and the Trinity is Unity is to be worshipped. He therefore that will be saved, must thus think of the Trinity.

Furthermore, it is necessary to everlasting Salvation, that he also believe rightly the Incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ. For the right Faith is, that we believe and confess, that our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is God and Man.

God, of the substance of the Father, begotten before the worlds; and Man, of the substance of His mother, born into the world. Perfect God and Perfect Man, of a reasonable Soul and human Flesh subsisting. Equal to the Father as touching His Godhead, and inferior to the Father as touching His Manhood. Who, although He be God and Man, yet He is not two, but One Christ. One, not by conversion of the Godhead into Flesh, but by taking of the Manhood into God. One altogether, not by confusion of substance, but by Unity of Person. For as the reasonable soul and flesh is one Man, so God and Man is one Christ. Who suffered for our salvation, descended into Hell, rose again the third day from the dead. He ascended into Heaven, He sitteth on the right hand of the Father, God Almighty, from whence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead. At whose coming all men shall rise again with their bodies, and shall give account for their own works. And they that have done good shall go into life everlasting, and they that have done evil into everlasting fire. This is the Catholic Faith, which except a man believe faithfully and firmly, he cannot be saved.


#2

The Athanasian Creed is a basic and thorough definition of the Trinity and the Incarnation of Jesus.

Where do you find anything troubling?


#3

Okay, I know I won’t know everything there is to know about Catholicism before Sunday which is when I’m converting from a non-denomination church w/baptist upbringing.

Calm down :). If you are not ready, if you still have that many questions, then wait to convert.
just to check, but have you gone through RCIA?


#4

I’m sorry. I guess I’m just a little nervous. I’m a single parent with no family support on this (my family doesn’t know and I don’t know what their reaction will be - they’re all Baptist…and basically think Catholics aren’t saved!) Anyway, I just came across this quote and it kind of freaked me out because I remember reading in the Catechism that (paraphrasing here, of course) people who are seeking God like through the Muslim faith or if they’re Jewish, etc. and have not been given “the gift of faith” that there is the possibility that they could still receive salvation. And in the quote I came across, the last sentence struck me as in contradiction to the catechism “This is the Catholic Faith, which except a man believe faithfully and firmly, he cannot be saved.” :confused:

Yes, I have been attending RCIA classes since June. We practiced the ceremony tonight and I just happened to come across this quote and it just sortof threw me off. I just was curious as to why the Church has seemingly changed it’s stance on this very important part of the Faith?

I do believe I’m ready to convert as I don’t think all my questions will ever all be answered. I have studied and prayed for many months and God has confirmed to me consistently and many times and in many ways that this is what He wants for me to do. I’m just a little hard headed and analytical sometimes. I’m sure there is a reasonable explanation for the difference…(I hope!) :o


#5

Seeking33,

Like the cover of the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy says in large friendly letters…[size=5]DON’T PANIC[/size]

Seriously though…

One thjing that I have discovered is that the Catholic Church is mercilessly honest in its teachings on such things and it all comes down to the fact that we are not God and therfore cannot tell how God will deal with those outside the church.

This makes a good point:839 “Those who have not yet received the Gospel are related to the People of God in various ways.”

The relationship of the Church with the Jewish People. When she delves into her own mystery, the Church, the People of God in the New Covenant, discovers her link with the Jewish People, “the first to hear the Word of God.” The Jewish faith, unlike other non-Christian religions, is already a response to God’s revelation in the Old Covenant. To the Jews “belong the sonship, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises; to them belong the patriarchs, and of their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ”, “for the gifts and the call of God are irrevocable.”

Have a look at this and read it carefully from The Catechism

It all has to do with the knowlege of the fullness of the truth.
Have a look at this from Acts of the Apostles


#6

I’m not sure what you are concerned about either. What part of the St. Athanasius creed are you concerned about?

Uh…actually don’t have to go through RCIA to become Catholic; Canon law doesn’t require anyone to go to RCIA, however it is a good idea for most to do this. I never went because I couldn’t make it because of my work schedule and also I had studied the faith and Catechized myself and from my brother and learned much more than most so my brother (who was my sponsor) and me met with the priest a few times before he brought me into the Church one Sunday Mass with the approval of the Bishop.

Anyway, don’t worry. :slight_smile: I was stressed out by to many things before and after I became Catholic but in time things get really good. I have been told that there are a number of things that happen in ones life that are the most stressful; one is a man loosing his hair and the other is changing faiths, although you aren’t really changing from Christianity to something else outside of it but coming into the fullness of the divinely revealed Christian truth.

Now, about the Athenasius creed. St. Athenasius was a Bishop in the Catholic Church and was a staunch defender of the Holy Trinity against the Arian heresy, which claimed Jesus wasn’t fully God but just a godly man, much like the Jehovah Wittness’s, Mormons and others believe. He was a Bishop and was pursecuted because of his strict orthodoxy. He as the Bishop of Alexandria and NOT the pope so didn’t have the sole authority to dogmatically define the truth on faith and morals so his creed isn’t dogmatic, per se, however I read through it and it is right on!

I’m not sure what problem you are having with it?
Is it the part that says Jesus “desended into hell”?
If so, many people misunderstand what this is actually saying and it’s NOT saying Jesus went to hell for us, that’s a heresy. Jesus is God and God didn’t and couldn’t sin and God can’t go the hell. Around the first through third or so centuries the word hell was used as the abode of the dead or the nether world as it says in 1 Peter 3:19 where Jesus went to preach to those in "prison."
Around the second or third century many people unknowling asked how Jesus could go to hell for us which is what the Apostles creed also supposedly asserts because it uses the same language of descended into hell. So the Church in her wisdom dealt with this problem at the Council of Canstantinople in 381 AD, I think it was and developed a clearer and more specific creed called the Nicene creed, which is what we say nearly every Sunday Mass. :slight_smile:


#7

No, I’m not having trouble about the descending in to hell thing. I actually was already taught that from my previous church and accepted that. :slight_smile:

I was just confused by the statement at the end "This is the Catholic Faith, which except a man believe faithfully and firmly, he cannot be saved." I was under the impression that the Catholic church now taught that if a person seeks God and through no fault of their own is not able to know about Jesus or the Catholic church, that God could still save them. So when I read that statement I was like HUH?

The poster above gave me some scripture and catechism to meditate on between now and Sunday. I’ve just read over it and after I meditate on it and think about it a while, I think it will clear up! God is definitely helping me through you guys! :thumbsup:


#8

[quote=Seeking33]I was just confused by the statement at the end "This is the Catholic Faith, which except a man believe faithfully and firmly, he cannot be saved." I was under the impression that the Catholic church now taught that if a person seeks God and through no fault of their own is not able to know about Jesus or the Catholic church, that God could still save them. So when I read that statement I was like HUH?

[/quote]

The way I see that sentence, it applies to Catholics…they need to believe faithfully and firmly…but I could be wrong.

malia


#9

Ah now I see what you are worried about. Not a problem either and don’t panic when you see “outside the Church there is no salvation” or “Extra ecclasiam nulla salus.” Remember God is in control. **“Outside the Church there is no salvation” **

The Catechism says: 846 How are we to understand this affirmation, often repeated by the Church Fathers?[335] Re-formulated positively, it means that all salvation comes from Christ the Head through the Church which is his Body:
Basing itself on Scripture and Tradition, the Council teaches that the Church, a pilgrim now on earth, is necessary for salvation: the one Christ is the mediator and the way of salvation; he is present to us in his body which is the Church. He himself explicitly asserted the necessity of faith and Baptism, and thereby affirmed at the same time the necessity of the Church which men enter through Baptism as through a door. Hence they could not be saved who, knowing that the Catholic Church was founded as necessary by God through Christ, would refuse either to enter it or to remain in it.[336]

Cathechism of the Catholic Church section 847 This affirmation is not aimed at those who, through no fault of their own, do not know Christ and his Church:
Those who, through no fault of their own, do not know the Gospel of Christ or his Church, but who nevertheless seek God with a sincere heart, and, moved by grace, try in their actions to do his will as they know it through the dictates of their conscience - those too may achieve eternal salvation.[337] 848 “Although in ways known to himself God can lead those who, through no fault of their own, are ignorant of the Gospel, to that faith without which it is impossible to please him, the Church still has the obligation and also the sacred right to evangelize all men.”[338]

The Church teaches that those who die in “invincible ignorance,” that is to say, not knowing they needed to join the Catholic Church still can be saved and there are many who will, yet we also have an obligation and a hopeful want out of love to tell them (graciously and in due and proper time Gal 3) about what the Church teaches. We should because we want them to come to know the fullness of divinely revealed truth, so we have the opportunity and the difficulty of doing what we know to be Gods will and it IS trying and burdensome. But don’t give up, never for God moves in ways so supernaturally, so far transendently beyond our understanding that He can and could change and convert your whole family in time; with Christ we can do all things according to His will.
Just try not to be to pushy and confrontational like I was at first and realize that they will have many questions and it may be difficult at first but in time things will get better. If you don’t know the answer, just be honest and say you don’t know but will find out. Then look up the answer or ask someone who knows and viola! you’ve learned something new to share with others who need to know the fullness of truth.

I KNOW I’m a convert who grew up Baptist and my brother and I were the only ones in my family who are Catholic. My extended family are all Baptist and used to really be anti-Catholic but have in the years become very simpathetic to the pope and the Church in general.

**A good method of realizing how those outside, and I suppose inside the Catholic faith, will be saved is looking to what Jesus said in Luke 12:47, some translations have it at verse 48. **
** Anyway, Jesus said “Much will be required of the person entrusted with much, and still more will be demanded of the person entrusted with more.” **
**We will say a prayer for you and your family. **


#10

[quote=Feanaro’s Wife]The way I see that sentence, it applies to Catholics…they need to believe faithfully and firmly…but I could be wrong.

malia
[/quote]

I agree with you. This applies to people who know the Catholic Church to be the true Church but still reject it. You can’t really be rejecting it if you don’t know it to be true.

In Christ,
Nancy :slight_smile:


#11

you should have questions. You have only learned the basics, what you need to make your profession of faith - the Nicene Creed - and to receive the sacraments of initiation. your real education begins afterwards, which is why you should be attending regular classes, at least monthly in the year following your reception into the Church. This is called Mystagogy - study of the mysteries, of “what just happened to me and what happens next?” This should be the beginning of your life-long learning in the Faith. You aren’t graduating with a college degree in Catholic, you just finished basic training.


#12

“extra ecclesiam nulla salus”

“Outside/without the Church there is no Salvation.” (yes, the latin word “Extra” can mean “without” & this should flavor your reading of this teaching)

This teaching comes from the patristic period of the church, when the church was under persecution and Christians were being tortured and killed for not giving up the faith. In my opinion this teaching is true yet not fully understood and is in the process of development (and has been for the last two centuries.) Pope Pius IX taught that those who have not had the opportunity to learn the truth of the church (Invincible Ignorance) could still be saved if they responded to the grace that God gives us all. (BTW, Pius IX is not generally known as a progressive or modernist. While more progressive in his early years as pope he wound up on the other end of the spectrum from progressive.) Now the church is exploring if there are other things beyond lack of missionaries that can lead to Invincible Ignorance… Lack of freedom to make a decision for the Church for example; Or lack of psychological freedom: say there was a case of abuse by a Priest in my past (there is not but just as an example) This would present a barrier to me making positive decision for the church because it would deprive me of psychological freedom.

As I say, IMHO the church is examining the boundries of this teaching to see how it should develop. I bring this all up because I believe that you are hung up on the difference between the teaching you have received in RCIA and: “Whosoever will be saved, before all things it is necessary that he hold the Catholic Faith. Which Faith except everyone do keep whole and undefiled, without doubt he shall perish everlastingly.

But in the end we know that anyone who is saved is saved by Christ (whether they know it or not, see Mat 25:31-46). We know that the the church IS the body of Christ. Therefore, all salvation comes through the Church, the Body of Christ (in some mysterious fashion for those outside the formal confines of the Church). Christian ecclesial communities have aspects of the church … Baptism, faith in Christ, scripture, grace and others depending on demonination. As long as a member of one those ecclesial communities has not come to believe in the truth of the church and willfully rejected it we can eagerly hope for his salvation.


#13

Hi Seeking,

To become a Catholic, you do not have to understand everything the Church teaches or might teach. You only have to believe it.

Act of Faith

O my God, I firmly believe that thou art one God in three Divine Persons, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost; I believe that thy Son became man, and died for our sins, and that He will come to judge the living and the dead. I believe these and all the truths the Holy Catholic Church teaches because Thou hast revealed them, who canst neither deceived nor be deceived.

If you can say this prayer sincerely, then you are ready to become Catholic.

The Church still teaches that outside the Church there is no salvation. But there are various ways of being “inside” the Church. If a person is totally open to the truth, totally sincere in their belief, then God knows that, were they to learn fully about the Catholic Church, they would join it. God, the all-merciful, takes this into account and applies the merits of the passion of Jesus Christ to anyone who is in this disposition. How could He act otherwise.?

Verbum


#14

[quote=Seeking33]Okay, I know I won’t know everything there is to know about Catholicism before Sunday which is when I’m converting from a non-denomination church w/baptist upbringing. But I came across this creed written in 361 AD and it bothers me because now the Church teaches that its sortof okay to not believe the way this creed says and still be able to receive salvation as long as you are “trying” to get to God in the only way you know how basically is how I read it in the Cathechism. Read the Creed below (especially the last paragraph)and then if you can, please explain the change. Thank you so much… This is kindof really bothering me and I’d like to get it resolved before Sunday…

The Athanasian Creed (361 AD):

Whosoever will be saved, before all things it is necessary that he hold the Catholic Faith. Which Faith except everyone do keep whole and undefiled, without doubt he shall perish everlastingly. And the Catholic Faith is this, that we worship one God in Trinity and Trinity in Unity. Neither confounding the Persons, nor dividing the Substance. For there is one Person of the Father, another of the Son, and another of the Holy Ghost. But the Godhead of the Father, of the Son and of the Holy Ghost is all One, the Glory Equal, the Majesty Co-Eternal. Such as the Father is, such is the Son, and such is the Holy Ghost. The Father Uncreate, the Son Uncreate, and the Holy Ghost Uncreate. The Father Incomprehensible, the Son Incomprehensible, and the Holy Ghost Incomprehensible. The Father Eternal, the Son Eternal, and the Holy Ghost Etneral and yet they are not Three Eternals but One Eternal. As also there are not Three Uncreated, nor Three Incomprehensibles, but One Uncreated, and One Uncomprehensible. So likewise the Father is Almighty, the Son Almighty, and the Holy Ghost Almighty. And yet they are not Three Almighties but One Almighty.

So the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Ghost is God. And yet they are not Three Gods, but One God. So likewise the Father is Lord, the Son Lord, and the Holy Ghost Lord. And yet not Three Lords but One Lord. For, like as we are compelled by the Christian verity to acknowledge every Person by Himself to be God and Lord, so are we forbidden by the Catholic Religion to say, there be Three Gods or Three Lords. The Father is made of none, neither created, nor begotten. The Son is of the Father alone; not made, nor created, but begotten. The Holy Ghost is of the Father, and of the Son neither made, nor created, nor begotten, but proceeding.

So there is One Father, not Three Fathers; one Son, not Three Sons; One Holy Ghost, not Three Holy Ghosts. And in this Trinity none is afore or after Other, None is greater or less than Another, but the whole Three Persons are Co-eternal together, and Co-equal. So that in all things, as is aforesaid, the Unity is Trinity, and the Trinity is Unity is to be worshipped. He therefore that will be saved, must thus think of the Trinity.

Furthermore, it is necessary to everlasting Salvation, that he also believe rightly the Incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ. For the right Faith is, that we believe and confess, that our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is God and Man.

God, of the substance of the Father, begotten before the worlds; and Man, of the substance of His mother, born into the world. Perfect God and Perfect Man, of a reasonable Soul and human Flesh subsisting. Equal to the Father as touching His Godhead, and inferior to the Father as touching His Manhood. Who, although He be God and Man, yet He is not two, but One Christ. One, not by conversion of the Godhead into Flesh, but by taking of the Manhood into God. One altogether, not by confusion of substance, but by Unity of Person. For as the reasonable soul and flesh is one Man, so God and Man is one Christ. Who suffered for our salvation, descended into Hell, rose again the third day from the dead. He ascended into Heaven, He sitteth on the right hand of the Father, God Almighty, from whence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead. At whose coming all men shall rise again with their bodies, and shall give account for their own works. And they that have done good shall go into life everlasting, and they that have done evil into everlasting fire. This is the Catholic Faith, which except a man believe faithfully and firmly, he cannot be saved.
[/quote]

The Athanasian Creed is an accepted Creed of the Catholic Church and is found listed in the infallible decrees of the Catholic Church as published in Denzinger.


#15

[quote=Seeking33]I’m sorry. I guess I’m just a little nervous. I’m a single parent with no family support on this (my family doesn’t know and I don’t know what their reaction will be - they’re all Baptist…and basically think Catholics aren’t saved!) Anyway, I just came across this quote and it kind of freaked me out because I remember reading in the Catechism that (paraphrasing here, of course) people who are seeking God like through the Muslim faith or if they’re Jewish, etc. and have not been given “the gift of faith” that there is the possibility that they could still receive salvation. And in the quote I came across, the last sentence struck me as in contradiction to the catechism “This is the Catholic Faith, which except a man believe faithfully and firmly, he cannot be saved.” :confused:

Yes, I have been attending RCIA classes since June. We practiced the ceremony tonight and I just happened to come across this quote and it just sortof threw me off. I just was curious as to why the Church has seemingly changed it’s stance on this very important part of the Faith?

I do believe I’m ready to convert as I don’t think all my questions will ever all be answered. I have studied and prayed for many months and God has confirmed to me consistently and many times and in many ways that this is what He wants for me to do. I’m just a little hard headed and analytical sometimes. I’m sure there is a reasonable explanation for the difference…(I hope!) :o
[/quote]

There is no contradiction ebtween this Creed and the Catechism. Those who have been explained the Trinitarian formula of God and intentionally and freely REJECT it cannot be saved. The Catechism says that if a person is ignorant of the teachings of Christianity there is a possibility that they might still be saved. The Catechism mentions the Athanasian Creed in paragraph 192.


#16

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