I'd like to ask some questions


#1

Hi.
I’m a member of the Uniting Church in Australia (UCA), however, I attend a Catholic school and have done for nearly 12 years. I’m doing an assignment for my Religion class, where I am comparing the Sunday liturgies of the UCA and Catholic Church. I really need some questions answered ASAP.

If anyone, especially priests, or other members of the clergy, could answer these questions for me, it’d be much apreciated!!!

(It’d be good if you could expand on answers more than “the Catholic Church is the only church that holds the Truth” of similar statements, and if you can personally answer questions, not just give me links.)

  1. Do you believe that the mass of the Catholic Church to be more formal the the UCA or Protestant churches in general? Why do you think this is?

  2. How do you think the history of the Catholic Church factors in to how the Mass is conducted?

  3. Do you think that the age of the Church has an impact on howformal and rigid the Mass is, comparede to a younger denomination, such as the UCA? How so?

  4. To what degree of freedom do you believe Catholic priests have to “personalise” the Mass? Why?

  5. How does this compare to the freedom of Protestant ministers, especially those of the UCA?

  6. Can you tell me why the Catholic Church does not allow women to become priests?

  7. What do you think about other denominations allowing this practice?

  8. With the Eucharistic bread and wine, there are set practices and rituals concerning their making and blessing, yes? Could you explain this to me briefly?

  9. Are the above practices considered absolutely necessary for the bread and wine to change into the Body and Blood of Christ?

  10. Do you believe the Eucharist of the UCA to be valid? (They may use ordinary leavened bread and grape juice from the local supermarket…as long as a minister or higher blesses it.) Why/why not?

  11. Can you explain to me why non-Catholics are not allowed to take part in the Eucharist of the Catholic Church? Surely if a person believes it to truly be the Body and Blood of Christ it is valid?

  12. Do you believe that how well-suited the service of a denomination is to a person (ie their personal feelings and beliefs) can determine which church they will attend for the Sunday Liturgy?

(Some websites on the UCA if anyone’s interested…

http://www.uca.org.au/uca.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uniting_Church_in_Australia
http://www.uca.org.au/basis_of_union.htm

)

Thanks!!!


#2

welcome to the forums, your list of questions sounds very organized almost like a school research assignment, and we don’t do your homework for you. Suggestion that will help you more than anything: go back to the CA homepage, search the library and back issues of This Rock, read the tracts and articles on your topics of interest to get the real deal.

Do a search here under Liturgy and Sacraments forum for your questions on the Mass and the Eucharist, all of your questions have been answered before in great depth.

Then come back here with specific questions. Yours are too general. They should be more specific, and each question should be posted as a separate thread on the relevant forum. Believe me, we want to help, and this will work out better for you. Thanks for the links on UCA.


#3

No, look, this is an assignment. However, these are questions that** I ** have written that I need to ask Catholic people, so as to gather PRIMARY information, i.e. from people, not articles or the like. I’m sorry if my questions are a little general, but I’d really like some indivdual opinions on these issues. Please, I’ve tried to get and interview with a priest, but haven’t been able to get hold of one, and I’m running out of time. I really need a Catholic perspective on the questions, and don’t have the time to go trawling through the site, as much as I’d love to, knowing that it would be a great help. Please, please, please, don’t brush me off, I really need some help!


#4

Come on, guys, please just try to answer one question! I’m really sorry I have to do this, and if it’s offended anyone, I really didn’t mean to. I just don’t know what else to do…


#5
  1. Can you tell me why the Catholic Church does not allow women to become priests?

**Catechism of the Catholic Church #1577:

Only a baptised man validly receives sacred ordination. The Lord Jesus chose men to form the college of the twelve apostles, and the apostles did the same when they chose collaborators to succeed them in their ministry. The college of bishops, with whom the priests are united in the priesthood, makes the college of the twelve an ever-present and ever-active reality until Christ’s return. The Church recognizes herself to be bound by this choice made by the Lord himself. For this reason the ordination of women is not possible.**


#6

Thankyou very much, that’s very helpful!


#7

Let me try to provide some “opinion” or “individual perspective” to the issues you raise. In 5000 characters or less.

In general, the issues deal with the structure of the Mass, ordination of women, and the role of the opinions of the laity on formation of Church doctrine and rituals and ceremonies.

The Catholic Church is in general highly centralized. Its doctrines and policies and procedures are, in general, based on a tradition that is 2,000 years old. Further, many of the doctrines and policies and procedures, in general, derive from a tradition that goes back about 5,000 years - from the origins of the Jewish religion and what is commonly referred to as “the Old Testament” or the “Five Books of Moses”.

The founder of the Catholic Church is a person whose name in the english language is often given as Jesus Christ. His Hebrew or Aramaic name is different… probably something like Joshuay ben Josef. There is no “english alphabet” in Hebrew and things tend, in English, to be written phonetically, which causes some differences when translated into various modern languages of which there are probably hundreds.

The common languages of the time around the Mediterranean basin were Greek and Latin, although Hebrew was well known. And other languages as well. English did not come into existence until much later.

Jesus articulated principles that the Church has brought forward to the present day and has done so as accurately and precisely as possible. The purpose of the Church relates to one thing and one thing only: when we die, we will be judged – how can we conduct our lives so that when we are judged, we will be admitted to Heaven… The alternative is Hell, a fearsome evil place that no one wishes for anyone.

Jesus articulated that there are no other alternatives after our earthly death: Heaven – or, Hell.

So it comes down to… how close to the “straight and narrow” must we conduct our lives in order to gain Heaven and avoid Hell. Jesus has said that He is and will be our judge. And that He is prepared to be merciful… within limits. [Keeping in mind that you don’t want to commit an “oops” and fall into the abyss.]

The Mass is a reenactment of the Last Supper, as conducted by Jesus and described by the Apostles and in the New Testament. The precise words have been studied for centuries, millenia… these are the words given by Jesus… in Hebrew and translated into Latin, and all other vernacular languages. To prevent distortions from creeping in – some people are more voluble than others - the Church has published what they call “rubrics” – the formula or the structure by which the Mass is conducted. The front part consists of readings and meditations from the Old and New Testaments which leads into or segues into the second part and that is the Consecration of bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ. This is what is often called The Real Presence.

The rationale for the precise nature of the wording is contained in a number of Jesus’s teachings. Probably the most concise compilation would be in the part of the New Testament that is in John 6: 20-70.

Everything else flows from that.

For the final authority (to avoid the “oops” I referred to above), we, the laity, defer to our Bishops and to the Pope. There are many volumes of written material that back up everything, as the other posters have suggested. Tremendous documentation by the greatest minds.

Impulse control. It’s not an issue of doing whatever you or I or we simply feel like doing or what sounds good at a particular moment. It’s an issue of Heaven or Hell. Jesus, ALONE, is the Judge.

Popular opinions come and go. Polls of opinion are taken all the time. Some folks take strong positions about one thing or another. The result is that a group that thinks similarly forms their own religion or sect or denomination… there are hundreds of Protestant denominatons, each with different and sometimes conflicting beliefs. They can’t both be right.

There is one Protestant denomination that I am somewhat familiar with. The local congregation wants the “group” to follow their own locally derived “procedures”. The “headquarters” wants it done a different way. One local comment was that if they wanted things to be “centralized” they would be Catholic instead of their particular denomination.

People are perfectly free to start up their own religions. With their own beliefs and rituals and ceremonies. And they do, with great regularity.

People start new countries and if they want to they can start new languages.

If they start a new country, it might be the Island Kingdom of Pacifica Minor, but it wouldn’t be Australia or the United States of America.

If they start a new language, it might be Linux, but it wouldn’t be English.

If they start a new religion, they can call it anything they want, but it wouldn’t be Catholic.


#8

Thankyou very much for that, you raised some interesting points. However, I’d like to reiterate that I have attended a Catholic School for 12 years, and therefore am fairly familiar with the basic theology (such as the concepts of Jesus’ teachings, heaven and hell, sin, forgiveness, and the basic hierachy of the Church). But, the way you have put that is quite intriguing, and I hope you don’t mind me quoting you.


#9

[quote=UCA_chick]Thankyou very much for that, you raised some interesting points. However, I’d like to reiterate that I have attended a Catholic School for 12 years, and therefore am fairly familiar with the basic theology (such as the concepts of Jesus’ teachings, heaven and hell, sin, forgiveness, and the basic hierachy of the Church). But, the way you have put that is quite intriguing, and I hope you don’t mind me quoting you.
[/quote]

Now you have me curious… what is so … intriguing … about the way I expressed it?


#10

It’s just that I usually get it “This is what is, it is right, and that is that”. You seem to have tried to explain very patiently why and how, not just “what is”. It’s refreshing.


#11

UCA:

the structure of the mass was designed by Christ himself. Recall that after the resurrection he met the two disciples walking to Emmaus…and this is what they said: He opened up the scriptures for them(old testament) upon which their hearts burned and then broke the bread, upon which they recognized him.

Our Mass is fundamentally the same, liturgy of the Word and the liturgy of the Eucharist.

May your research bring you closer to the Lord!

in XT


#12

Thankyou Aquinas.
I think that maybe I haven’t made it clear, I have attended Catholic Masses. It wouldn’t be extreme to say around a hundred. I am a Christian, and do have a basic grasp of Catholic theology. There are just a few points that I’m not really sure on, and need some primary information. I thank you all very much, however, for being so generous with your time and knowledge.

PS Number one question is most important!!!


#13

Greetings and welcome!

It really has nothing to do with formality. It’s all about Sacred Tradition.

**Sacred TRADITION is the very CHURCH; without the Sacred TRADITION the CHURCH does not exist. Those who deny the Sacred TRADITION deny the Church and the preaching of the Apostles. **
**Before the writing of the Holy Scriptures, that is, of the sacred texts of the Gospels, the Acts and the Epistles of the Apostles, and before they were spread to the churches of the world, the CHURCH was based on Sacred Tradition…The holy texts are in relation to Sacred Tradition what the part is to the whole. The CHURCH Fathers regard Sacred Tradition as the safe guide in the interpretation of Holy Scripture and absolutely necessary for understanding the truths contained in the Holy Scripture. The CHURCH received many traditions from the Apostles… The constitution of the church services, especially of the Divine Liturgy, the holy Mysteria themselves and the manner of performing them, certain prayers and other institutions of the Church go back to the Sacred Tradition of the Apostles. In their conferences, the Holy Synods draw not only from Holy Scriptures, but also from Sacred Tradition as from a pure fount. Thus, the Seventh Ecumenical Synod says in the 8th Decree: "If one violates any part of the CHURCH Tradition, either written or unwritten, let him be anathema. **
St. Nectarios of Aegina


#14

I think part of our problem is that you say you are asking for the opinions of various Catholics. That is not how it works. Our personal opinion has no value or import when it comes to defining doctrine or practice. What you will get here is the real deal, what the Church teaches and why. yes, the Mass is based on scripture, particularly Christ’s institution of the Eucharist at the last Supper and the sacrifice of calvary and the resurrection, which every Eucharistic celebration makes present, and in which we participate. At Mass we participate sacramentally in the passion, death and resurrection, the Paschal Mystery. That is not personal opinion, that is truth, guaranteed by scripture and taught by the Catholic Church for 2000 years under the protection of the Holy Spirit.

Having no idea of UCA liturgy I could not possibly make comparisons. As for other protestants their practice is all over the map. Some Anglican rites retain very closely the form and ritual of Catholic Mass, other denominations hold services that do not even include attention to the Lord’s Supper.

we referred to you other threads because they answer your questions in the exact way you wish. particulary, a recent thread in the last week lists in great detail the scriptural source for every prayer and action of the Mass.

also some of your questions are loaded, forcing a certain answer, so are unfair even in an opinion poll. The first question asks do I think Catholic ritual is formal and rigid compared to UCA, a further question asks me about the reasons why the Mass is so formal and rigid, assuming a conclusion to the first question. Your questions, particulary the last, and the entire poll begin with the false assumption that one’s personal opinion and preferences are the deciding factor in which Church to join and what liturgy in which to participate. The conclusions and answers drawn from question based on this false assumption will necessarily be false, therefore of no value for serious research.


#15

Thankyou, both Mickey and asquared.

Thankyou Mickey, for distinguishing between formality and the Tradition, that’s really very helpful.

asquared, I’m very sorry if my continued posting here and requests for more information has caused you any sort of distress or annoyance. I am, however, more comfortable keeping it all together, and I am getting much needed results. Of course, I don not expect everyone here to have any knowledge of the UCA or it’s practices, or even detailed knowledge of other Protestant practices. I simply included references on the off chance some one did.

Also, unfortunately, my assignment guidelines, and those recommended to me by my teacher, require me to somehow garner some personal Catholic opinions. Even you repeating that it is from the Scriptures and the Truth that the Mass comes, is your personal opinion (though it may be shared by many, many ohers), and I am grateful for it.

Thankyou all.


#16

This question concerns the ordination of women. Denominations that do not claim a sacrificing priesthood may have ministers of either gender, married, unmarried. The Catholic Church does not recognize these ordinations, so it has nothing to say about them.

  1. With the Eucharistic bread and wine, there are set practices and rituals concerning their making and blessing, yes? Could you explain this to me briefly?

I do not believe there are rituals connected with making the bread and wine used in the Eucharist. But the bread must be wheat flour and water only (no other ingredients) and the wine must be from grapes only and above a certain percent in alcoholic content so that it will not ferment further.

  1. Are the above practices considered absolutely necessary for the bread and wine to change into the Body and Blood of Christ?

Yes. But I believe there is some leeway concerning what might still be a valid, though illicit, Eucharist. Rice cakes, for example, can never be confected into the Body of Christ, no matter how excellent the ceremony at which the pretense of consecration is enacted.

  1. Do you believe the Eucharist of the UCA to be valid? (They may use ordinary leavened bread and grape juice from the local supermarket…as long as a minister or higher blesses it.) Why/why not?

The Eucharist of the UCA is not valid because the UCA does not have a priesthood ordained in Apostolic Succession.

  1. Can you explain to me why non-Catholics are not allowed to take part in the Eucharist of the Catholic Church? Surely if a person believes it to truly be the Body and Blood of Christ it is valid?

When a Catholic receives the Body and Blood of Christ at a Catholic Mass, he affirms all that the Catholic Church believes and teaches. If a non-Catholic believes his non-Catholic Lord’s Supper is truly the Body and Blood of Christ, he is mistaken according to Catholic teaching. If he believes the Eucharist of a Catholic Mass is truly the Body and Blood of Christ, he should take steps toward becoming a Catholic, since that belief excludes the possibility that a non-Catholic Lord’s supper is “truly the Body and Blood of Christ.”

  1. Do you believe that how well-suited the service of a denomination is to a person (ie their personal feelings and beliefs) can determine which church they will attend for the Sunday Liturgy?

People make these choices all the time. That does not make them reasonable or acceptable. However, even within the Catholic Church, there are legitimate differences from parish to parish which may make attendance more agreeable to a given individual. It would be antithetical to the very idea of a “catholic” (universal) Church that personal preference should determine where one worships. We believe it is important to worship where Christ is present, not where we like the music or the architecture or the people.


#17

Thankyou, mercygate, exactly what I needed!


#18

I will do my best to help, but keep in mind that I’m writing my own opinions here, not to be mistaken with official Church Doctrine. If you want official sources (always better for assignments), you should check out the Catechism (scborromeo.org/ccc.htm). The website I linked to has decent searching functions.

I also know nothing specific about the UCA, and don’t have the time now to check out your site, so my comments that compare Catholicism to any other Christian religion will assume “generic” protestantism.

[quote=UCA_chick]Hi.
I’m a member of the Uniting Church in Australia (UCA), however, I attend a Catholic school and have done for nearly 12 years. I’m doing an assignment for my Religion class, where I am comparing the Sunday liturgies of the UCA and Catholic Church. I really need some questions answered ASAP.

  1. Do you believe that the mass of the Catholic Church to be more formal the the UCA or Protestant churches in general? Why do you think this is?
    [/quote]

Yes. In a nutshell, the Catholic Church views the Mass much like the ancient Jews viewed the Passover – as a moment where we actually participate in the original event (the Last Supper). The Mass is the principal sacrament whereby, by receiving Jesus’ Body and Blood, we renew with Him the covenant He forged with humanity by His perfect sacrifice on the cross. In order to help ensure that the sacredness of this miracle is preserved across the globe for the 1 billion+ Catholics, rubrics for the celebration of the Mass were created, which also helps ensure unity in worship. I can go almost anywhere in the world and participate in the Mass, even if I do not understand the laguage of the service.

[quote=UCA_chick]2. How do you think the history of the Catholic Church factors in to how the Mass is conducted?
[/quote]

I am not at all studied in this, but I know of a very good quote on the subject that I can’t get to right now. I’ll try to post it later on today.

[quote=UCA_chick]3. Do you think that the age of the Church has an impact on howformal and rigid the Mass is, comparede to a younger denomination, such as the UCA? How so?
[/quote]

Certainly the age of the Church impacts its practice, as one of the Church’s primary missions is preserving the authentic teachings of Jesus Christ. With 2000 years of tradition added to the specific purpose of the Mass, there is much less room for “interpretive license” in its practice. A young denomination can, essentially, do whatever it wants. In truth, many “new” denominations are formed precisely because of differences in preference for the style of Sunday worship.

[quote=UCA_chick]4. To what degree of freedom do you believe Catholic priests have to “personalise” the Mass? Why?

[/quote]

Not too much, for reasons stated above.

In general, protestants have more liturgical freedom, but I would strongly suspect that the amount of freedom they have is directly related to the strength of their beaurocracy. More well-established denominations (such as the Presbyterians) will have fewer freedoms that a church that is only a local “non-denominational” group that answers to no higher authority.

[quote=UCA_chick]6. Can you tell me why the Catholic Church does not allow women to become priests?
[/quote]

See the Catechism quote above. Basically, the Church does not believe it has the authority to choose women for the priesthood when Jesus and the Apostles set a very clear precedent.

[quote=UCA_chick]7. What do you think about other denominations allowing this practice?
[/quote]

Personally, if they are not united with the successors of Peter and the Apostles and are not administering the sacraments in Jesus’ name, then I don’t really consider them “priests”. Ultimately, it doesn’t concern me, except that it creates more public pressure for the Catholic Church to do the same, even though the Church is in no position to ever allow it.

I can’t really be specific. The wine must be wine, and the bread must have at least some wheat in it to be valid matter for consecration. Every sacrament requires valid “matter” that is then blessed and transformed by God’s Grace. Valid “matter” for baptism is water, for marriage is a man and a woman, for Eucharist is bread, wine and an Ordained priest, for Holy Orders is a Baptised, Confirmed male, etc.

continued…


#19

[quote=UCA_chick]9. Are the above practices considered absolutely necessary for the bread and wine to change into the Body and Blood of Christ?
[/quote]

As far as we know, yes. God can do anything, of course.

No, for a couple reasons. The first is that the “priest” has not received valid Holy Orders (the sacrament whereby one becomes a priest). Only the Apostles were given the command to “do this in remembrance of me” – a command that they pass on to their successors through Holy Orders. If a “priest” of any denomination has not received Holy Orders, they cannot validly consecrate the bread and wine. It is interesting to note that (I believe) the sacrament of Holy Orders cannot be revoked, so once a person receives the sacrament, they can consecrate the bread and wine even if they leave the Catholic Church.

The other requirement that is missing from most protestant ministers is belief in the True Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. When the Catholic priest says “This is my Body; this is my Blood”, he is speaking in persona Christae, with Christ’s authority, and is from that moment in the literal physical presence of Christ Himself.

[quote=UCA_chick]11. Can you explain to me why non-Catholics are not allowed to take part in the Eucharist of the Catholic Church? Surely if a person believes it to truly be the Body and Blood of Christ it is valid?
[/quote]

Could anyone walk into the Holy of Holies, open up the Ark of the Covenant, pull out the Ten Commandments and read them piously, even if they were a “true believer” in God and a good Jew?

Certainly not. Such a person would be struck dead, according to the Old Testament.

Once transformed during the Mass, Catholics believe the bread and wine become the Body and Blood of Jesus Himself. It instantly becomes the most sacred, holy, and pure thing in the Universe – far more so than even the Ark of the Covenant. As such, it is the most highly protected thing the Church cares for. To allow unbelievers, or even Catholics who are living is serious (mortal) sin to receive the Eucharist is to allow them to profane Jesus’ Body and Blood. Read 1 Corinthians 11:23-30

For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, that the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: 24 And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. 25 After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, this cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. 26 For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come. 27 Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. 28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. 29 For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. 30 For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.

In light of this truth, the Catholic Church is very protective of the Eucharist, lest anyone unknowingly “eateth and drinketh damnation to himself”.

“What about true believers who are not Catholic” you ask?
If a person truly did believe in the True Presence, they would seek to become Catholic, for that is the only place God’s most wonderous gift is offered.

[quote=UCA_chick]12. Do you believe that how well-suited the service of a denomination is to a person (ie their personal feelings and beliefs) can determine which church they will attend for the Sunday Liturgy?
[/quote]

Of course. People will definitely attend whatever service they feel best fits their personal feelings and beliefs. That does not, however, make the service equal to all others, especially since we know that not all beliefs that people hold are True. I strongly believe that, like it or not, the Mass is the ultimate means God gave us to honor and worship Him. Every other service is wanting in comparison.

So, that’s my take on it. I would very strongly encourage you to look into these things in greater depth on your own time. The Catholic Church has much to offer that you (honestly) cannot find in young, “new” denominations. May your searching led you to the Truth.

Peace,
javelin


#20

Thankyou very, very much, javelin. You’ve answered those extremely well and helped a lot. So much so, that I think I can wrap up my research for today. You’ve all been extremely helpful and accomadating, and I’ll make sure that when I come back (as it wouldn’t surprise me if I do sometime in the future), I post in the right forums, seperate threads and the like. Thankyou all once again, especially for putting up with me, my general-ness, my fickle mind, and my stupidity so very early in the morning (which it is where I am…). Thankyou, thankyou, thankyou.

May Peace be in your hearts.


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.