Questions about Catholicism

Hello. I’m a christian and I just have some questions about Catholicism.
1st. Is the catholic church more unified than Christian churches? I’m kind of sick of the arguments that all of the denominations have with each other. It’s caused arguments within my own family.
2d. With all due respect, why is Mary my mother?
3rd. What no birth control? I have the hardest time with this one because I have one child of my own and 2 step-children that I am raising with absolutely no help from their mother and I cannot afford another child.
And I don’t think God wants me to have more children than I can financially afford.
This is not meant to sound argumentative I was just looking for some answers

NFP, as in Natural Family Planning is what Catholics (who are actually following what the Church has taught) use to help avoid pregnancies for good reasons like your’s. The modern form of NFP I’ve heard is just as effective at helping to avoid pregnancies as artificial contraceptives.

Hi there, welcome to the forums. We’re happy to have you.

To answer your questions as best I am able:
1: The Catholic Church is one unified body. There are members within it that do not hold to Her teachings, as there are with any belief structure; but the Church itself is the united across the face of the Earth. We have various forms of liturgy, there are Eastern rites and western rites, but they are all under the auspices of the Pope. (Matthew 16:18)

The reason we are more unified, at least one reason, is because we have a central authority in the Pope, and we believe that interpretation of the Bible is not a personal matter, but rather a task appointed to the leadership of the Church (The Magisterium). Most of the issues in Protestant (the constant fighting) are the result of the notion of Sola Scripture, and the notion that a person can interpret the Bible on their own. This has historically lead to vastly differing and contradictory interpretation on very, very crucial issues. This is the reason that there are so many Protestant denominations, all teachings different ‘truths,’ whereas there is now and has always been only one Catholic Church, with a core set of beliefs that has remained constant throughout history since our initial creation by Christ. (Again, Matthew 16:18)

2: Because Christ gave her to us as our spiritual mother. (John 19:26-27) She was a gift to us, to lead us towards her son and the pray for us when we need help (much like how I would ask you to pray for me when I am in trouble, or you would ask your friends to pray for you when you are struggling with something).

3: Birth control damages the body and prevents it from acting as God designed it to. Medicines are supposed to take something that is malfunctioning and correct the issue, putting it in proper working order. Birth control, condoms, and other methods intended to actively prevent conception do they opposite. They take an aspect of human physiology that is working properly, and impede it, damage it, and render it pointless. It also takes the sexual act, which is supposed to be the complete and total giving of self to the other, and holds something back. It says, I love you and give you everything that I am, except for my fertility.

If you are concerned about conceiving again, you may have a valid reason to use Natural Family Planning (NFP). This works with the body’s natural systems and uses science to help a couple determine when the woman is fertile. During those periods, the couple can refrain from sexual intercourse.

You did not sound argumentative at all; I hope that my post and others’ have been helpful to you. God bless, and feel free to ask any more questions you may have.

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Humanae Vitae:

Here is a history lesson for you (short reading):

Until the 1930s, the Catholic Church was not alone in its opposition to contraceptives. In the Christian tradition, birth control had long been associated with promiscuity and adultery, and resolutely condemned. However, after the Anglican Church passed a resolution in favor of birth control at its 1930 Lambeth Conference, other Protestant denominations began to relax their prohibitions as well. Nevertheless, the Catholic Church held fast to its opposition.

The Vatican’s stand against contraception was centuries old. For much of that time, however, birth control had remained a dormant issue. Since most birth control consisted of folk remedies and homemade cervical caps, there was little cause for the Church to respond. It was the mass production and availability of rubber condoms and diaphragms in the 1920s and 1930s, made possible by the 1839 invention of vulcanized rubber, which eventually forced the Church to take a public position on specific contraceptives.

In July 1965 a Gallup poll asked Catholic Americans if they thought their Church would ever approve of birth control. Sixty-one percent of the respondents replied yes. There was just cause for optimism. Oral contraceptives had been on the market for five years, and had not been banned by the Pope.

Change in the Air
Within the hierarchy of the Church, both bishops and priests around the world were boldly speaking out in favor of contraception and especially the Pill. The Church had convened a papal commission to study the issue, and reports leaking out from the meeting suggested change was in the air. There was a general consensus that the commission would recommend liberalizing the Church’s policy. It was just a question of when.

The Pope’s Encyclical
Pope Paul VI It was not to be. On the morning of July 25, 1968, the Vatican called a press conference to announce its decision on the Pill. In the papal encyclical entitled Humanae Vitae (“Of Human Life”), Pope Paul VI ended the speculation over oral contraceptives and birth control once and for all. He reaffirmed the Church’s traditional teachings and classified the Pill as an artificial method of birth control. To go on the Pill or use any other contraceptive device would constitute nothing less than a mortal sin.

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2d. With all due respect, why is Mary my mother?

Because God is your Father and Christ is your Brother. :slight_smile:

3rd. What no birth control? I have the hardest time with this one because I have one child of my own and 2 step-children that I am raising with absolutely no help from their mother and I cannot afford another child.
And I don’t think God wants me to have more children than I can financially afford.
This is not meant to sound argumentative I was just looking for some answers.

People are expected to exercise self-control in situations where it would be undesirable to have more children. There are a number of scientific methods, grouped under the name “Natural Family Planning”, which can help married couples know when to abstain from sex, in order to reduce the likelihood of pregnancy.

The Catholic Church does not expect every family to have a lot of children, although certainly if people can make that work, it’s a good thing!

But actual birth control methods that frustrate either the unitive or the procreative functions of sex (outside of simply having sex at times when neither party is actually fertile) are forbidden because they undermine the meaning of marriage, as an icon of Christ’s total self-giving to the Church, and the Church’s total receptivity to Christ.

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These answers are awesome. Thank all of you so much. The more I learn about the catholic church the more fascinated I become.

Well said, and I hope this and other posts on this thread help the OP come a step closer towards understanding these issues from a Catholic POV;


So how do Catholics view protestants?

The sins of those who separated from the Church centuries ago cannot be laid at the feet of modern Protestants, who, for the most part, are following Jesus as best they know how.

It is not the fault of a modern-day Protestant if he does not know the truths of the Catholic faith, because these teachings were taken away from him and hidden from him long before he was born.

Nevertheless it remains true that all who are in Christ are in the Catholic Church. Therefore, if a Protestant comes to understand that his eternal salvation depends on knowing and following the truths of the Catholic faith, then he must become a Catholic in order to save his soul.

But there is hope for those who remain in honest ignorance of these facts, given that they are Baptized, and given that they do not deliberately commit sin.

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So what does one have to do in the Catholic church to obtain salvation. I’ve been saved and baptized.

If they have repented their sins, accept Jesus, and walk with Him with the light they have, they are our brothers and sisters in Christ. There is a huge variation among Protestants. With Baptists, for instance, we have the Scriptures in common. With Lutherans and Anglicans, for instance, we have in common both Scriptures and Sacred Tradition, though they don’t explicitly accept the Magisterium.

Catholics believe that God works through Protestant individuals, and also through Protestant communities. Catholics believe that individual Protestants can come to sanctity and wisdom, often greater than what some Catholics have, but that Protestant faiths don’t have the fullness of revelation. The Vatican II Document on Ecumenism is useful here.

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Your Protestant baptism would be accepted by the Catholic Church.
Re: salvation, as a Catholic I give 3 answers:
Yes I was saved, when I was baptized
Yes I am being saved, as I respond (hopefully) to God’s grace in my daily walk.
Yes I will be saved (I hope) at the time I die - and hear the words, “well done, good and faithful servant”. It is not through my own merits, but Christ’s.

Typically a person would receive regular instructions in the teachings of the Church through a modified form of the RCIA which is intended for those who have already been Baptized, and who have been living a life of faith in a non-Catholic Christian community.

Instruction would be accompanied by various Rites marking spiritual transition points in a process of spiritual development, as well as connections with the local parish community.

Upon completion of this period of preparation, the candidate would be formally received into the Church with First Reconciliation (Confession), a Profession of Faith, Confirmation, and First Holy Communion.

There would be classes taking place after this to ensure that the person was fitting in well with the community, and able to find opportunities for service and ongoing personal spiritual development.

The process typically takes about a year or so. There are lots of stopping points along the way where candidates can change their minds and decide they don’t want to become Catholics. This is because it is essential that you be fully committed to your Catholic faith, once you are received into the Church.

Lots of good answers here. I’ll just add my $0.02 and see if it helps any!

  1. The Catholic Church is the ONLY Christian Church. I don’t mean that in a derogatory, anti-Protestant remark, but rather, it is a fact. The Catholic Church was established at Pentecost, and exists to this day. It has its fair share of issues, as the smoke of Satan (modernism) is trying to work its way in, but the Church has kept the same teachings throughout the ages. She is the Bride of Christ and Pillar of Truth, the New Jerusalem, the Third Temple. The New Covenant. When all is said and done, the Church is One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic. No other “church” can claim that. She is united with the angels, saints, and God in Heaven.

  2. When Jesus hung on the cross, he said to Mary “behold your son” and to John “behold your mother”. Jesus left Mary as the mother of the apostles and consequently the world. That is as simple as it gets. If we wish to have Jesus as our brother, we must also have Mary as our mother :thumbsup:

  3. The Catholic Church has always viewed the purpose of sex as twofold. procreation and unity between husband & wife, whereas today society tells us sex is only about pleasure. Openness to life is absolutely necessary. Birth control essentially closes the door to procreation, which reduces sex to nothing more than carnal gratification.
    • if you are financially unable to support more children, don’t have sex.

Pax Christi!

The Catholic Church is the original Christian Church, founded by Jesus Christ and in unity with Him. Unfortunately, as within any family, there are disagreements. The difference is, Christ wisely set up an Authority to settle such disputes and disagreements within The Church.

2d. With all due respect, why is Mary my mother?

The Bible tells us that Christ is our brother, therefore Mary is our adopted mother.

There are some very good answers to the last question given by others.

The Eastern Orthodox Church, the Oriental Orthodox communion, the Assyrian Church of the East, the Polish National Catholic Church are all True Churches which bear all four marks, as recognized by the Catholic Church. The Catholic Church has the fullness of the faith.

John 19:26-27:
When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son!
Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother!
And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home.

As it reads, Jesus is asking Mary and the disciple to take care of each other after he’s gone, so the disciple takes her home to live with him.

I’m not seeing how you interpret the exchange above to mean that :

  1. Jesus gave Mary to the world as a gift and as everyone’s spiritual mother
  2. … to lead everyone towards him–and,
  3. …to pray for us when we need help.

Is there some other quote he gave somewhere else that shows what you are talking about?


Not in the Bible, no, but fortunately we’re Catholic and, while the Bible is certainly great, and we should all read it and learn from it, it is not the only source of revelation. We have 2000 years of unbroken tradition honoring her as our spiritual mother. We also have the writings of several Apostolic and Early Church Fathers showing the degree to which she was honored as the mother of our Lord.

And these are part of what we call Sacred Tradition.

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