I AM a Catholic
by Patrick Miron

Faith or Reason, OR Faith & Reason for Salvations outcome?

This was a topic raised in today’s Daily Mass homily. And because I endeavor to cover all topics that benefit Catechesis of both Catholics non-Catholics, it’s a topic worthy of further discussion. One needs to have an understanding of many issues to be an effective Teacher and defender of our Catholic Faith. Especially in the times God has selected for us to live in.

The question in dispute may also be framed in the following manners. “May anyone freely choose to select their own faith- belief system?” And, or, Does one HAVE “to be a Catholic” in order to be saved?

When asked as a free-standing question, the answer seems to be an apparent and easy one. Yet the answer depends on who is asked the question, or does it? Would everyone give at least lip service to “Faith AND Reason” which seems to be the prudent position? Or can “faith” actually be nullified by suggesting that “Reason” has a necessary and essential role?

After all suggesting that “faith” has any additional requirements seems to invalidate “faith” which necessarily has to be totally independent, and self-supporting with no strings attached, without redefining the term itself.

The Webster dictionary defines “faith” as: Full Definition of FAITH
1 “ allegiance to duty or a person : LOYALTY
b fidelity to one’s promises (2) : sincerity of intentions
2 belief and trust in and loyalty to God (2) : belief in the traditional doctrines of a religion
b firm belief in something for which there is no proof (2): complete trust
3 something that is believed especially with strong conviction; especially : a system of religious beliefs ”

The Catholic Dictionary defines “Faith” as:” FAITH. The acceptance of the word of another, trusting that one knows what the other is saying and is honest in telling the truth. The basic motive of all faith is the authority (or right to be believed) of someone who is speaking. This authority is an adequate knowledge of what he or she is talking about, and integrity in not wanting to deceive. It is called divine faith when the one believed is God, and human faith when the persons believed are human beings. (Etym. Latin fides, belief; habit of faith; object of faith.)”

Tobit 2:18 “For we are the children of the saints, and look for that life which God will give to those that never change their faith from him.”

Ecclesiasticus 25:16 “The fear of the Lord driveth out sin: For he that is without fear, cannot be justified or the wrath of his high spirits is his ruin.”

Ecclesiasticus 49:12 “And may the bones of the twelve prophets spring up out of their place: for they strengthened Jacob, and redeemed themselves by strong faith.”

Matthew 23:23 “Woe to you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites; because you tithe mint, and anise, and cummin, and have left the weightier things of the law; judgment, and mercy, and faith. These things you ought to have done, and not to leave those undone”

Mark 2:5 “And when Jesus had seen their faith, he saith to the sick of the palsy: Son, thy sins are forgiven thee.”

Acts 6: 7 “And the word of the Lord increased; and the number of the disciples was multiplied in Jerusalem exceedingly: and a great multitude also of the priest obeyed the faith.
Luke 17:5 “And the apostles said to the Lord: Increase our faith.”

Romans 3:28 “For we account a man to be justified by faith, without the works of the law”
Romans 5:1 “Being justified therefore by faith, let us have peace with God, through our Lord Jesus Christ”

Romans 10:17 “Faith then cometh by hearing; and hearing by the word of Christ.”

1 Corinthians 13:13 “And now there remain faith, hope, and charity, these three: but the greatest of these is charity.”

James 2: 11-20 “For he that said, Thou shalt not commit adultery, said also, Thou shalt not kill. Now if thou do not commit adultery, but shalt kill, thou art become a transgressor of the law. So speak ye, and so do, as being to be judged by the law of liberty. For judgment without mercy to him that hath not done mercy. And mercy exalteth itself above judgment. What shall it profit, my brethren, if a man say he hath faith, but hath not works? Shall faith be able to save him? And if a brother or sister be naked, and want daily food: And one of you say to them: Go in peace, be ye warmed and filled; yet give them not those things that are necessary for the body, what shall it profit? So faith also, if it have not works, is dead in itself. But some man will say: Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without works; and I will shew thee, by works, my faith. Thou believest that there is one God. Thou dost well: the devils also believe and tremble. [20] But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?

Was not Abraham our father justified by works, offering up Isaac his son upon the altar? Seest thou, that faith did co-operate with his works; and by works faith was made perfect? And the scripture was fulfilled, saying: Abraham believed God, and it was reputed to him to justice, and he was called the friend of God. Do you see that by works a man is justified; and not by faith only? And in like manner also Rahab the harlot, was not she justified by works, receiving the messengers, and sending them out another way? [26] For even as the body without the spirit is dead; so also faith without works is dead”

Perhaps by recognizing that the bible clearly has a variety of teaching, some of which appear to be contradictory:

Old Testament

Ecclesiasticus 25:16 “The fear of the Lord driveth out sin: For he that is without fear, cannot be justified or the wrath of his high spirits is his ruin.”

Ecclesiasticus 49:12 “And may the bones of the twelve prophets spring up out of their place: for they strengthened Jacob, and redeemed themselves by strong faith.”

New Testament

Romans 3:28 “For we account a man to be justified by faith, without the works of the law”
Romans 10:17 “Faith then cometh by hearing; and hearing by the {ENTIRE} word of Christ.”
1 Corinthians 13:13 “And now there remain faith, hope, and charity, these three: but the greatest of these is charity.” And then we have that long teaching by Saint James, the first Bishop of Jerusalem, shown above. James 2:26 “For even as the body without the spirit is dead; so also faith without works is dead”

Recalling and then applying the One Infallible Rule for right Understanding of God’s Bible birthed through the Catholic Church:

“Never-Ever
Can, May or DOES
One Verse, passage or teaching
Have the Power or Authority
To Make Void; invalidate or override
Another Verse, passage or teaching
Were this even the slightest possibility [ITS NOT], it would render the bible as worthless to teach or learn ones faith.”

Then recalling three indisputably bible teachings.

1. Mt. 16: 18-19 “And I say to thee: That thou art Peter; and upon {YOU} this rock I will build my church, {SINGULAR} and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give to thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven. And whatsoever thou shalt bind {MEANS teach or command}upon earth, it shall be bound also in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose upon earth, it shall be loosed also in heaven.”

2. Mt. 28-16-20 “And the eleven disciples {Apostles} went into Galilee, unto the mountain where Jesus had appointed them. And Jesus coming, spoke to them, saying: All power is given to me in heaven and in earth. Going therefore, teach ye all nations; baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded {& Personally TAUGHT} you: and behold I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world.”

3. John 17: 11-24 “And now I am not in the world, and these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep them in thy name whom thou has given me; that they may be one, as we also are. While I was with them, I kept them in thy name. Those whom thou gavest me have I kept; and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition, that the scripture may be fulfilled. {Judas} And now I come to thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they may have my joy filled in themselves. I have given them thy word, and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world; as I also am not of the world. I pray not that thou shouldst take them out of the world, but that thou shouldst keep them from evil. Sanctify them in truth. Thy word is truth. As thou hast sent me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. {this means exactly what it says: with God’s Own Powers and Authority} And for them do I sanctify myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth. {Here Jesus gives Himself as a Personal warranty that the Catholic Church alone CANNOT {not “does not”} teach in error on any matter of FAITH and or Morals, which no other church or faith can claim! } And not for them only do I pray, but for them also who through their word shall believe in me; That they all may be one, as thou, Father, in me, and I in thee; that they also may be one in us; that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou hast given me, I have given to them; that they may be one, as we also are one: I in them, and thou in me; that they may be made perfect in one: and the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast also loved me.”

So with clarity, charity and God’s Authority, the Catholic Church claims the exclusive right as the only always- guided and warrantied Faith Teacher who CAN teach the fullness and the entire truth of what God wants and Commands all of us to know, accept and obey.

Does the Catholic Church teach that everyone MUST be a member to be Saved? NO!
Catechism of the Catholic Church:

846 “How are we to understand this affirmation, often repeated by the Church Fathers? 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”.

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”

This then makes evident that conditionally, others, not members of Christ only Founded and guided Church, MAY have an opportunity to attain Christ Salvation. BUT, only God can make the Judgment, only God can know to whom He has Offered His grace, and who does and does not qualify based on this defined and Doctoral teaching.
Mt. 16: 19 “And I will give to thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven. And whatsoever thou shalt bind {MEANS teach or command} upon earth, it shall be bound also in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose upon earth, it shall be loosed also in heaven.”
So it is Law, it is biblical, it is God’s Will that Faith is essential to Salvation; BUT no one anything will suffice and meets God’s expectations for Salvation that Only he can grant.
John 3:5 “Jesus answered: Amen, amen I say to thee, unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Ghost, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” Mt. 19:17 “One {only} is good, God. But if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments” Acts 20: 28-30 “Take heed to yourselves, and to the whole flock, wherein the Holy Ghost hath placed you bishops, to rule the church of God, [singular] which he hath purchased with his own blood. I know that, after my departure, ravening wolves will enter in among you, not sparing the flock. And of your own selves shall arise men speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.” Douay Rheims Bible John 10:16 “And other sheep I have, that are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice, and there shall be one fold and one shepherd” John.14: 26 “But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.” John 20:21-22 He said therefore to them again: Peace be to you. As the Father hath sent me, I also send you. When he had said this, he breathed on them; and he said to them: Receive ye the Holy Ghost” John 10: 1-3 “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber but he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the gatekeeper opens; the sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. “Luke 10:16 “He who hears you hears me, and he who rejects you rejects me, and he who rejects me rejects him who sent me.” Jer.3: 15 “`And I will give you shepherds after my own heart, who will feed you with knowledge and understanding.”

John 21: 15-19 When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Feed my lambs.” A second time he said to him, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Tend my sheep.” He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” And he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep And after this he said to him, “Follow me.” AMEN!
I pray that God will Bless and guide you as He has His Catholic Church.
Patrick Miron

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