Some Miscellaneous Quetions on Catholicism


#1

About a week ago my evangelical sister and I engaged in a discussion about the differences between her evangelical beliefs and those of Catholicism. In talking with her, she asked me several questions, and although I partially knew the answer, I did not know all the answers. Most of these questions pertain to the sacraments. Perhaps you can help me:

  1. If God wants infants to be baptized, then why was Jesus only baptized as an adult? Why was Jesus not baptized in Bethlehem? How is Jesus’ baptism the same or different from our own?

  2. Why do Catholics have children enter the sacraments at a certain age? In particular, why are all Catholic children forced to be confirmed at a certain age? Shouldn’t one have the choice of when one feels he has enough faith to be confirmed?

  3. Why can’t little children partake of the Eucharist? If they have been baptized without having their own faith, then why can these children not also receive the Eucharist?

Those are all the questions which I can think of at the moment.


#2

[quote=Madaglan]About a week ago my evangelical sister and I engaged in a discussion about the differences between her evangelical beliefs and those of Catholicism. In talking with her, she asked me several questions, and although I partially knew the answer, I did not know all the answers. Most of these questions pertain to the sacraments. Perhaps you can help me:

  1. If God wants infants to be baptized, then why was Jesus only baptized as an adult? Why was Jesus not baptized in Bethlehem? How is Jesus’ baptism the same or different from our own?

  2. Why do Catholics have children enter the sacraments at a certain age? In particular, why are all Catholic children forced to be confirmed at a certain age? Shouldn’t one have the choice of when one feels he has enough faith to be confirmed?

  3. Why can’t little children partake of the Eucharist? If they have been baptized without having their own faith, then why can these children not also receive the Eucharist?

Those are all the questions which I can think of at the moment.
[/quote]

Ritual washings are found in Judaism. So “baptism” was nothing new and John’s baptism we are told in the Scriptures was only a baptism of “Repentance”… Infants have nothing to repent of the only sin on their soul , Original sin, is not personal but sin never the less. But then Jesus didn’t need to be Baptized at all because He had no sin at all. He was circumcised according to the Jewish faith on the eighth day. This was the Jewish prefigurement of Christian Baptism.

All Sacraments after childhood are at the persons request. A young person is Confirmed when they request Confirmation. Like human childhood, Spiritual childhood is guided by the parents. A child is not allowed to eat what they want, behave how they wish, dress as they want. (well some are, but…) A child is Baptized into the Faith of the Church and as a child is given the Sacrament of the Eucharist. The Sacrament of Reconciliation is by their choice and all other Sacraments after this is by their choice.

3.) They can and do in the Eastern Rites. It is simply by Church Law that they receive First Holy Communion about the age of seven in the western Church.


#3

[quote=Madaglan]About a week ago my evangelical sister and I engaged in a discussion about the differences between her evangelical beliefs and those of Catholicism. In talking with her, she asked me several questions, and although I partially knew the answer, I did not know all the answers. Most of these questions pertain to the sacraments. Perhaps you can help me:
[/quote]

Just my initial reactions (and I’m no expert):

  1. If God wants infants to be baptized, then why was Jesus only baptized as an adult? Why was Jesus not baptized in Bethlehem? How is Jesus’ baptism the same or different from our own?

His baptism was different from ours in that He is God–it’s sort of reversed…we are baptised into His family, while His baptism was a model for us to follow. He humbled himself to us so that we might come to know Him better.

Actually, Jews practice ritual washings that are baptisms. Babies are “baptised” after circumcision. Women are "baptised after their periods. Converts are baptised and dishes are baptised–it is a “ritual washing”. Here’s an interesting article on it: bebaptized.org/Jewishroots.htm

  1. Why do Catholics have children enter the sacraments at a certain age? In particular, why are all Catholic children forced to be confirmed at a certain age? Shouldn’t one have the choice of when one feels he has enough faith to be confirmed?

Actually Eastern Catholics to the whole shi-bang when the baby is baptised–baptism, confirmation, and 1st Eucharist. Roman rite allows some variation–and no one is forced to ever be confirmed. One can be a catholic in a state of grace and good standing without EVER receiving the Sacrement of Confimation. Why they would forgo this means of grace is another issue–But Confirmation is not required.

  1. Why can’t little children partake of the Eucharist? If they have been baptized without having their own faith, then why can these children not also receive the Eucharist?

As I mentioned above–Eastern Catholic children DO receive the Eucharist. I’m not sure, but I think the tradition of holding off for the Latin Rite Catholics is so that there is some recognition on the part of the recipient that this that seems to be bread is really and truly God. It is an extra measure to ensure respect for the body of Christ (that’s my guess anyway…)


#4

[quote=Madaglan]1) If God wants infants to be baptized, then why was Jesus only baptized as an adult? Why was Jesus not baptized in Bethlehem? How is Jesus’ baptism the same or different from our own?
[/quote]

Jesus’s baptism was different–He had no sin to repent of, nor Original Sin on His soul. He rather made a model for us to follow.

Christ wants infants to be baptized because He wants them to be saved, for He Himself said that “unless one be born of water and the Holy Spirit the cannot be saved”.

  1. Why do Catholics have children enter the sacraments at a certain age? In particular, why are all Catholic children forced to be confirmed at a certain age? Shouldn’t one have the choice of when one feels he has enough faith to be confirmed?

There is a great misunderstanding that Confirmation is a sort of graduation. That it is a ceremony which cements our choice in a certain faith as we choose it “for ourselves”. While it can certainly be all this, Confirmation has at its core a completely different purpose. It is rather an opening of our souls to the full power of the Holy Spirit, Who guides and strengthens us against evil and temptation.

Catholics should never be “forced” to be confirmed if they have reached the age of reason. There is also no “certain age” that a Catholic must be confirmed, though some diocese or countries will set a guideline.

  1. Why can’t little children partake of the Eucharist? If they have been baptized without having their own faith, then why can these children not also receive the Eucharist?

As was stated before, Eastern Catholic children *do *receive the Eucharist. In the Western tradition, however, they do not receive until they reach the age of reason so that they can fully perceive Christ’s presence.


#5

The Catholic Church is the Church which Jesus Christ founded and He gave it the Authority to make those determinations when He said to the Apostle Simon in Matthew 19"I will give you (C)the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven." This giving of the Keys of the kingdom of heaven and the Authority to bind and loose is symbolic of giving all authority to make these decisions. The Church practices are based on the pre-biblical practices of the first christians. The New Testament did not exist until the Catholic Church produced it that the Councils of Hippo and Carthege. Before that, there was the oral teaching of the apostles and their followers. The practices were documented in certain first century books such as the Didache (Teaching of the Apostles). Here is something else for her to think about.

Do you have any idea when your church was founded and by whom?
You may find this enlightening:

If you are a of the Catholic faith, Jesus Christ founded your Church in the year A.D. 30.

If you are Lutheran, your religion was founded by Martin Luther, an ex-monk in the Catholic Church, in 1517.

If you belong to the Church of England (Anglican), your religion was founded by King Henry VIII in the year 1534 because the pope would not grant him a divorce with the right to remarry.

If you are a Presbyterian, your religion was founded when John Knox brought the teachings of John Calvin to Scotland in the Year 1560.

If you are Unitarian, your group developed in Europe in the 1500s.

If you are a Congregationalist, your religion branched off Puritanism in the early 1600s in England.

If you are a Baptist, you owe the tenets of your religion to John Smyth, who launched it in Amsterdam in 1607.

If you are a Methodist, your religion was founded by John and Charles Wesley in England in 1744.

If you are an Episcopalian, your church came from England to the American colonies. It formed a separate religion founded by Samuel Seabury in 1789.

If you are a Campellite Christian Church, your religion was started by Thomas and Alexander Campbell and Barton Stone at a revival held at Bushy Creek.

If you are a Mormon (Latter-day Saints), Joseph Smith started your church in Palmyra, N.Y. in 1830.

If you worship with the Salvation Army, your sect began with William Booth in London in 1865.

If you are a Christian Scientist, you look to 1879 as the year your religion was founded by Mary Baker Eddy.

If you are a Jehovah’s Witness, your religion was founded by Charles Taze Russell in Pennsylvania in the 1870s.

If your Church of Christ, your church broke of from the Campellites in 1906.

If you are Pentecostal, your religion was started in the United States in 1901.

If your organization is “evangelical nondenominational christian” your group started in the 1960s

Pray for the Holy Spirit to strengthen your faith and remember that the Bible says the Church is the “Pillar and Foundation of Truth”

Let us go now to love and serve the Lord.


#6
  1. He was baptised as an infant. Or at least the Jewish equivalent. According to the Judaic Law, he was circumcised in the temple when presented to Nicodemus. As St. Paul tells us, Baptism is the Christian fulfillment of the Mosaic circumcision.

Furthermore, John the Baptist was not more then 9 months older then Jesus. If Jesus was going to be baptised as an infant… well, that would be kind of silly.

Finally, Christ’s passion,death, and resurrection was the fulfillment of the Mosaic tradition to make it Christian. It was then that the christian law came into affect, not during Jesus’s infancy. The age of someone who implements a law does not determine what age groups are subject to the law.

2/3: These questions depend on your tradition (east/west, as mentioned before.): The eastern mentality is that all grace is necessary and provided for salvation, so get it to them as quickly as possible.

Western:

Baptism: Is necessary for all salvation and grace. Its like feeding your kid. They need it to live. So you start from dayone.

Confirmation: Should be decided by the person. Never forced. It is when they choose to take the church as their own.

Eucharist: Also should be when they choose it for their own. Tends to be younger then confirmation, because one can choose to have a close, intimate relationship with someone long before they are prepared to have a complete, life-time committment to them.

Like all good relationships, can be chosen even earlier with a parent’s help and the child’s free choice.

Josh


#7

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