How well do you know Catholicism? Could you answer some of the most common questions about our faith? Have a go! 1. Why do Catholics Worship Mary? A short answer: We don’t. We honour Mary as the Mother of God, the first disciple and our most powerful intercessor, but we worship God alone. For more, check out: Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) nos. 487-507 Scott Hahn, Hail Holy Queen, Double Day Publishers, New York, 2001. Available here. This famous Russian Icon written by Andrei Rublev depicts the three angels who visited Abraham at Marmre but also the Trinity. 2. What is the Trinity? Christians believe that there is only one God who exists in three persons, The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. So how does that work exactly? It’s a mystery, but here is one analogy: If ‘God is Love’ that means God is a being that is eternally ‘doing’ love. As love is not a solitary action, logically, there must be one who loves, one who is loved and the fruit of that love. If God is Love, then he cannot be alone. So we say the Father is the lover, the Son is the beloved and the fruit of that love is the Holy Spirit. These are three distinct persons but they are of the same essence or substance (hence the “consubstantial” in the Creed.) For more, check out: CCC nos. 232-260 Giles Emery O.P & Matthew Levering, The Oxford Handbook of the Trinity, Oxford University Press, New York 2011. Available here. *WARNING: BIG WORDS AND MIND-BENDING METAPHYSICS* 3. How can Jesus have two natures? This is the oldest know Icon of Christ Panokrator. Notice Jesus has two facial expressions, emphasising the harmony of his two natures. This has been such a contentious issue that the Council of Niceae was convened in 325 AD to settle it. Both the human and the divine nature of Jesus co-exist together in complete fullness. Jesus is not like a demigod, half man and half god, nor is his divinity or humanity at war with each other. They exist together in one union (the fancy word is hypostatic union). Did you know that St Nicholas was one of the attending bishops? For more info: CCC nos. 456-487 The Skit Guys, Fully Human Fully God. A hilarious video illustrating how it may have worked in the world. 4. Isn’t the bread and wine just a symbol? The Eucharist is not just a nice ritual we do because Jesus asked us. It is literally his body and blood offered up for our redemption. It may taste, feel, smell and appear like bread and wine, but when the priest prays the consecration, the substance of the bread and wine transform (miraculously) into Jesus’ body and blood whilst remaining in the form of bread and wine. More info: CCC no. 1333-1344 Word on Fire, Fr Robert Barron Comments on the Real Presence. Fantastic and concise video explanation of the Real Presence. 5. Why do you confess to a priest? Why can’t we just confess to God directly? Well yes we can, and we should, every day. Sacramental confession however is about more than just our relationship with God. It’s about our participation in the Body of Christ. The Church has always held that the grace of mercy and forgiveness can be mediated through a priest who acts in the person of Christ (in persona Christi) who authoritatively forgives our sins (see Matthew 16:19). The practice of going to a priest to confess our sins and be reconciled to the Church is incredibly powerful and healing and one of the great gifts of faith. Check out: CCC no.1445-1449 Dr Rober Tilley, Reconciliation: becoming truly human. Presented at iWitness Conference via Cradio.org So how did you go? Did you know the answers to these questions or were you totally in the dark? Have you found any good answers to these common questions or have different one that has you stumped? Tell us in the comments below. This article featured in the March 2013 of the CathFamily e-Magazine.